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Funding Cuts Proposed for Watchdog Agency

June 05, 2004

Re "Cuts at FPPC May Halt Probes," May 30: It would be a travesty for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, under the guise of belt-tightening, to make deep cuts in the budget for the Fair Political Practices Commission, especially when the commission is investigating the governor's use of campaign funds.

Thirty years ago, Californians voted to form this independent, nonpartisan commission to keep politicians honest and be a watchdog over special-interest money. Instead of pulling its teeth, we should give it more of a bite and increase its mandate, along with its budget, so that it is able to give full and open disclosure of any campaign advertising before the public votes, not after. I wonder how many people would have voted for the $15-billion bond issue if they had known that the advertising urging them to do so was paid for by corporations that stood to gain the most from it.

Rae Hepburn

Encino

Even after a generation of campaign finance reform measures, conflicts of interest make regular headlines. Monitoring contributors and fining candidates are mostly ineffective, if not irrelevant, when both major parties accept money from special interests. The FPPC's and the reform groups' efforts at minor reforms have had their day. It is time to stop watching the money and get it out of state elections altogether.

Richard Baker

Beverly Hills

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