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Torrance attorney Gavin Wasserman named to campaign watchdog panel

February 1, 2013 |  1:24 pm

State Controller John Chiang on Friday appointed Torrance attorney Gavin Wasserman to serve on the panel that enforces campaign finance and conflict-of-interest laws, bypassing a more controversial figure also vying for the seat.

Wasserman, a 39-year-old Republican, joins the state Fair Political Practices Commission immediately, replacing law professor Ronald Rotunda, whose term expired Thursday.

Because of rules requiring partisan balance on the commission, Chiang, a Democrat, made his appointment from a list of five names submitted by the California Republican Party.

One of those passed over was Bradley Benbrook, the lawyer who defended an Arizona group in court against FPPC efforts to determine the source of $11 million in contributions provided to state initiative campaigns in November.

Wasserman has had some experience with the political process, having run unsuccessfully in 2008 for a seat on the Torrance City Council.

A managing partner at the law firm Wasserman & Wasserman, he has been an attorney since 1999 and has served on the Board of Governors of the Japanese American Bar Assn. Wasserman graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and later graduated from the University of Chicago Law School. 

"The Controller made a great choice, and we believe Mr. Wasserman will be a reasonable voice on ethics, campaign finance and lobbying reform,'' said Phillip Ung, an advocate for California Common Cause.


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