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Janice Hahn, Gavin Newsom spar over campaign contributions

March 17, 2010 | 10:33 am
L.A. Councilwoman Janice Hahn and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom may be running for a job often derided as politically impotent, but the Democratic race for lieutenant governor is turning out to be one of the most competitive -- and perhaps nastiest --  of the primary season.

It all started when Hahn's campaign consultant, Garry South, took shots at his former client, Newsom, for entering the race last week. Now, Hahn is trying to put a damper of Newsom's fundraising, arguing that donors who have given to Newsom's campaign for governor should be barred from giving to his lieutenant governor's campaign.

In a complaint filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission on Tuesday, Hahn's attorneys argue that Newsom donors who have already contributed more than $6,500 when Newsom was running for governor should be barred from giving again.

"Mr. Newsom’s campaign for lieutenant governor is impermissibly thwarting state law curbing the influence of contributors on candidates for public office," wrote Hahn's attorney, Stephen Kaufman, in the complaint.

Newsom spokesman Jason Kinney called the complaint "one of last Hail Mary acts of a flailing campaign," and Newsom's campaign responded with a lawyer's letter of his own, from attorney Tom Willis.

“Janice Hahn's complaint to the FPPC ignores two important things: the law and the fact the FPPC has already rejected her argument,"  Willis wrote. "When Hahn's campaign first floated this idea in the press a month ago, a reporter asked the FPPC's Executive Director Roman Porter whether there was any merit to it. Mr. Porter said no, stating that the Political Reform Act’s contribution limits apply per candidate, per election – it’s a separate election. The law and facts could not be more clear ... There is no such thing as an aggregate contribution limit that restricts a contributor’s ability to give to more than one committee of a candidate."

-- Anthony York

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