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chiangsmiling.JPGOur top takeaway from Capitol Alert's first-ever punchline contest?

Controller John Chiang's staffers have no problem publicly poking fun at their boss.

Several of the department's employees were among the readers who submitted their best joke about the California Democratic Party's recent offer to reward the winner of a fund-raising contest with two hours with the state's top accountant.

The winning entry came not from inside the Democratic controller's office, but from a reader across the aisle.

GOP social media and political consultant Meredith Turney got the most laughs from our judging panel with this quip:

"California Democrats finally found someone who can help their fundraising even more than Kinde Durkee"

For readers not following the Kinde Durkee saga, the joke references allegations that the prominent Democratic campaign treasurer, who was arrested last month, stole millions from the accounts of her high-profile clients.

It's been a good week for Turney in terms of getting laughs. A recent tweet taking a swipe at the Occupy protest movement got some love in a daily email newsletter sent out by state GOP spokesman Mark Standriff.

"I can be sarcastic when I need to be," she said of her snark skills.

Turney, who is currently based in Southern California, can toast to her successes with the $25 gift certificate to Starbucks she won as our top entrant.

Seeing as the contributor is an active member of the GOP, it's unlikely she'll win face time with Chiang through the state Democratic Party's fundraising drive. so she asked us to pass along one message to the person at the center of her punchline:

"Please don't audit me!"

Thanks for all who participated for the laughs (and the groans). Click here to check out the post announcing the contest.

PHOTO CREDIT: State Controller John Chiang enjoys a laugh during a meeting with The Bee Capitol Bureau on July 14, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.


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