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Political Expenditures Lobbying Loophole Tightened

The state agency that oversees political expenditures in California has tightened what it says was a loophole in lobbying rules.

An exemption allows some people to accompany lobbyists to meetings without registering.

Fair Political Practices Commission Chair Jodi Remke says the idea is to allow policy experts hired by the lobbyist or their client to join the discussion. But she says outside consultants have instead used it to avoid registering as lobbyists.

"The language was too broad. Some people could have argued that it did in fact apply to those people. We wanted to clarify, number one, that it did not, number two, that these people have to be subject matter experts," says Remke.

The Fair Political Practices Commission voted Thursday to add those stipulations.

A trade group for registered lobbyists opposed the change. It says the old rule wasn't ambiguous — but the new rule is, including the definition of a “subject matter expert.”

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