The "Cracks" In Proposition 34

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If you're a political junkie, you've probably heard the old saying about how political money is like water trickling through any crack it can find.

Critics say the cracks in California's Proposition 34 have turned those trickles into gushing rivers of money.

You'll remember Prop 34 passed in 2000, and was the Legislature's attempt to put a new system in place after the courts threw out Proposition 208 in 1996. But one of the criticisms of Prop 34 has always been that it wasn't really campaign finance reform.

An example: an individual donor can give more money to a candidate for the California Assembly than they can to a candidate for President of the United States.

This year, the shortcomings of Prop 34 were obvious: millions of dollars went to legislative candidates through the political parties (no limits there), and millions more were spent by PACs on independent expenditures (IEs), who also are unfettered by limits as long as they're not coordinated with individual candidate campaigns.

A review of the records shows that in some cases, the IEs that were spent on a given race were much larger than even what the candidate campaigns spent.

We'll take a look at the issue in this week's newsmagazine edition of The California Report (click here for when to catch it around the state).

UPDATE: The audio for this story is now posted on our website (just scroll down to Friday's broadcast).

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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