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More valuable gifts, contributions allowed to politicians in 2013

December 14, 2012 |  8:29 am

The cost of wining and dining politicians and giving to their campaigns is going up.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday made adjustments to gift and contribution limits to keep up with inflation, using a formula in state law.

The maximum value of a gift that can be accepted by an elected official goes from  $420 to $440 starting Jan. 1. The maximum contribution a candidate can receive from an individual goes up to $4,100, from $3,900,  for legislative candidates,  and to $27,200, from $26,000, for candidates for governor.

The increases concerned good-government advocates, including Derek Cressman, regional director of Common Cause. "Inflation is bad enough for consumers, but to be inflating the already-supersized influence of big donors on our politicians is downright appalling," Cressman said.

The commission also adopted new rules Thursday aimed at helping the public track who is paying to qualify ballot measures and how much is being spent independently of candidates to give them support or opposition.

The commission agreed to require that the number assigned to proposed initiatives by the state attorney general will be included on a public form when a committee spends $100,000 or more circulating petitions.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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