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Senate approves doubling political bribery fines

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The Senate has passed a bill that would double the fines for lawmakers and city council members convicted of accepting bribes.

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 30-1 for AB1666 by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who pushed the bill in response to political corruption charges against members of the state Senate.

Sen. Rod Wright of Inglewood was convicted for lying about living in his district, while Sens. Ron Calderon of Montebello and Leland Yee of San Francisco are fighting unrelated federal corruption charges.

The bill by Garcia, a Democrat from Bell Gardens, would double restitution fines to double the amount of the bribe received or $20,000, whichever is greater.

It also would ban elected officials from using their campaign accounts to pay fines for ethics violations. The bill now moves to the Assembly.

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