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L.A. Campaign Donation Limits Challenged

LOS ANGELES (CN) - An unconstitutional 34-year-old city fund-raising law restricts free speech, a nonprofit claims in Federal Court. Working Californians challenges a 1985 law that prevents political committees from accepting more than $500 for "independent political committees that support or oppose candidates for city elective office."

The law was intended to keep outside groups from contributing to each other to pay for expenditures that support or oppose 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 complaint states.

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

Working Californians supports Essel, and says the law limits its ability to advocate on her behalf. It is represented by Stephen Kaufman.

The group seeks a temporary restraining order to bar the city's Ethics Commission from enforcing the law.

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