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Group Sues Los Angeles Over Fundraising Cap

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A decades-old city fundraising law violates the Constitution and limits free speech, a nonprofit claims in a Federal court. Working Californians challenges a 1985 law that prevents political committees from taking more than $500 if the money's to be used as an independent expenditure for a city candidate.

The law was intended to keep outside groups from contributing to each other to pay for independent expenditures that support city candidates.

"The excessive burdens these laws place on independent political speech in Los Angeles strike at the heart of the First Amendment interest that courts have consistently protected," the lawsuit states.

The city will hold a special runoff election Dec. 8, when Christine Essel and Assemblyman Paul Krekorian will vie to replace former City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who is now the city's controller.

Working Californians supports Essel, and says the law limits its ability to advocate on her behalf.

The group will seek a temporary restraining order on Thurdsay to bar the city's Ethics Commission from enforcing the law on the grounds that it violates their right to free speech.

If successful, it could bring in a flood of outside contributions.

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