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The California Capitol Building
A heavyweight in California political circles is pitching a major reform idea. Dan Schnur, former chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, wants to see a ban on fundraising for lawmakers while the California legislature is in session.
Schnur says undue political influence is more likely under current rules because "enterprising legislators can schedule a fundraising reception within a five-minute walk from the floor of the state Assembly or Senate, rush out to scoop up a stack of campaign contributions, and be back at their desk before the ink on the checks has dried," he wrote for The Sacramento Bee.
Critics of the proposal say the unintended consequences would wreak havoc. Deep-pocketed folks with political ambition would rise to the top. Incumbents would not stand a chance. Moreover, more money would go to special interest groups, and more ads, than campaigns themselves.
Have there been examples of fundraising leading to corruption in the California legislature? When would elected representatives have to time to raise money considering the fairly constant schedule in Sacramento? Where does this fit in the bigger picture of handling the relationship between money and politics?
Dan Schnur, Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC and adjunct faculty at USC Annenberg School; Schnur has started a petition to ban fundraising while the California legislature is in session; Former chairman of the California fair Political Practices Commission
Steve Maviglio, Democratic Strategist and Former Legislative Staffer