On politics in the Golden State
By Jeff Gottlieb
January 28, 2013 | 6:18 pm

A joint Assembly and the state Senate committee will conduct a hearing to determine the extent that California agencies are using off-budget accounts to hold money outside the state system.

Monday’s announcement follows a Times report that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection hid $3.6 million rather than depositing it in the state’s cash-strapped general fund.

Cal Fire, as the department is known, placed the money with the nonprofit California District Attorneys Assn. The money came from legal settlements. Cal Fire’s regulations say the money was supposed to go into the state’s general fund.

“It is outrageous that public entities have apparently long seen fit to play shell games with the public’s money,” Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), said in a news release. “If a private-sector company treated people’s money the same way, somebody would be behind bars.”

The hearing is expected to be held in two or three weeks.

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