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Patrick McGreevy
February 10, 2016

The state’s ethics watchdog agency has launched a yearlong overhaul of California’s law governing campaign finance and lobbying with an eye toward streamlining and simplifying rules that many politicians complain are too complex, the agency’s top official said Wednesday.

Jodi Remke, chairwoman of the Fair Political Practices Commission, said the 41-year-old Political Reform Act needs to be updated, in part, to reflect changes in the way special interests try to influence elections and those who are elected.

“It’s impossible to understand,” Remke said of the law in a meeting with The Times’ Sacramento bureau. “If we can really focus on this and clean it up, it would be a huge step forward.”

In a step separate from the Act’s review, Remke said Wednesday that campaign contribution limits will likely be looked at to see whether they are adequate, given that far more money is spent independently from candidates by special interest groups. “Are we chasing our tails talking about contribution limits when that’s not really the game anymore?” she asked.

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