California lawmakers advance bill to boost leaders' power

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a bill that would let legislative leaders raise and spend more money to help their preferred candidates.

Their vote came despite opposition from open-government groups who argued the bill would spur more pay-to-play politics at the Capitol.

The bill would let leaders in the Legislature operate fundraising committees governed like state and county party committees. Such committees have higher contribution limits than regular campaigns and can give unlimited amounts to help state candidates.

Senators voted 3-2 to advance the bill out of a committee.

Lawmakers supporting the proposal argue it would help them combat the influence of independent expenditures. They also argue the bill would increase transparency by requiring more frequent disclosures by party and legislative leadership committees.

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