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METRO NEWS | Southern California IN BRIEF / LOS ANGELES

Hahn Seeks Probe of Fund-Raising

April 24, 2001

James K. Hahn's mayoral campaign Monday asked the state Fair Political Practices Commission to immediately investigate the fund-raising practices of the California Democratic Party, which has played a key role in promoting rival Antonio Villaraigosa.

The Hahn campaign alleged in a six-page letter that the party may have violated state law by soliciting contributions that "appear to have been earmarked" to support Villaraigosa's campaign for mayor of Los Angeles.

Under provisions of a ballot measure approved by California voters in November, organizations can raise money to communicate with members about elections, such as through mailers. That fund-raising does not have to be disclosed before voters go to the polls.

But if the contributions are earmarked for a specific candidate, they should be disclosed and could violate limits on campaign contributions.

Hahn has complained frequently in recent weeks about the party's failure to disclose the source of contributions before the April 10 election, and the amount spent for mailers and other political activity on Villaraigosa's behalf.

Lance Olson, general counsel to the California Democratic Party, said the Hahn campaign's allegations are "just untrue."

"The California Democratic Party has not broken any laws," Olson said. "Mr. Hahn may not like what the party did, but what they did was perfectly legal."

Parke Skelton, campaign consultant to Villaraigosa, said Hahn's complaints are "sour grapes" because he failed to win the state Democratic Party's endorsement for mayor.

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