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Bill requires payments for misusing campaign funds

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Candidates or lawmakers who illegally use campaign contributions for personal expenses would have to pay an equal amount to the state treasury under a bill passed by the Assembly.

AB2692 by Democratic Assemblyman Paul Fong of Cupertino passed Monday 69-0 and heads to the Senate.

The California Fair Political Practices Commissions, the state's campaign watchdog agency, can issue fines of $5,000 per count for campaign expenses unrelated to politics or legislation. Fong's bill would require violators to pay the cash value of personal expenses on top of the fines.

The bill does not respond to a specific incident, but recent cases have highlighted questionable spending. Former Democratic state Senate leader Dean Florez agreed last fall to $60,000 in fines for using campaign donations for furniture, ski trips and concert tickets.

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