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The "professionalization " of legislatures has reduced opportunities for elected officials to earn outside income as tightened ethics laws have cut off sources of illicit income. This has turned attention to one of the last remaining sources of potential material benefit for political candidates: their campaign treasuries. This paper examines the issue of personal use of campaign funds with particular focus on California's efforts to regulate this area of campaign finance. Although few regard this as the most serious problem in the American campaign finance system it suggests lessons for other areas. The authors offer policy recommendations based on a comparison of personal use regulations in California, other states, and the federal level. Among these recommendations is the use of explicit lists of permitted and prohibited expenditures, education of candidates and their staff, and greater reliance on public disclosure as a check against abuse.

Published Citation

La Raja, Ray, Jonathan Koppell, and Christine Trost. "Cashing in on the campaign: the personal use of campaign funds in California." (1998). Harvard