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One of the capitol's most active political ethics and campaign-finance watchdogs is leaving his post as policy advocate at California Common Cause at year's end.

Beginning Jan. 1, Phillip Ung will become the director of public affairs at California Forward, leading the organization's Capitol efforts and "making sure their reform agenda is successful throughout the state," Ung told The Bee.

Ung's time at Common Cause coincided with major campaign finance and political ethics issues in the state. Common Cause was among the leading critics of nonprofit organizations' involvement in the political process.

Last year, the group spotted an $11 million contribution from a shadowy nonprofit opposing Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase initiative and supporting a measure that sought to weaken the political power of labor unions.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission in October announced a settlement with the Arizona-based Center to Protect Patient Rights and Americans for Responsible Leadership for their participation in the network operated by the conservative Koch brothers.

Ung said he was proud of his participation in exposing "a lot of the inside 'dirty politics' in Sacramento," from special-interest junkets to the influence they exert through gifts to lawmakers. He also served as a spokesman for last year's Proposition 28, which revamped the state's term-limits law.

"There is still a lot of work to be done as it relates to California ethics," Ung said Monday. "I hope that the media and voters continue their work in exposing special- interest influence here in the state Capitol."

Ung began working for Common Cause in 2011, coming over from the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

PHOTO: Phillip Ung is the policy advocate for California Common Cause, a nonpartisan good government organization. He announced Monday, Dec. 2 that he is leaving the group at the end of the year. Photo provided by Ung.



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