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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/18/2012 12:06:36 PM PST
Updated: 12/18/2012 08:18:07 PM PST

San Bernardino County on Tuesday became the first county in California to contract with the state Fair Political Practices to enforce the county’s new campaign finance ordinance.

The ordinance, which takes effect Jan. 1 and was approved by the Board of Supervisors in August, limits campaign contributions for all candidates seeking local elected office to $3,900, mirroring campaign-finance limits for state legislators.

The county’s two-year contract with the FPPC frees up $493,296 from the general fund to use in combating unlawful campaign finance practices. It allows the FPPC to:

Conduct audits on candidates running for county supervisor, sheriff, assessor, district attorney, auditor-controller/treasurer-tax collector, and superintendent of schools.

Serve as the civil and administrative prosecutor for violations of the ordinance.

In a statement Tuesday, Supervisor Janice Rutherford, who along with former First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt proposed the ordinance in September 2011, said that contracting with the FPPC ensures that the county’s campaign finance reform laws will be applied effectively and objectively.

“Why add another layer of county government when we already have an independent state agency that is qualified and capable of enforcing our campaign finance law? We can save money and bring greater efficiency by contracting with the state,” Rutherford said in her statement.

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