The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

December 3, 2010
Dan Lungren's assignment places him at center of reform debate

Rep. Dan Lungren is ascending to the chairmanship of the House Administration Committee, incoming Speaker John Boehner announced today.

That may not seem like the biggest assignment in the new Congress. But the administration committee claims jurisdiction over campaign finance law.

That places Lungren in the middle of the ever-more fierce debate over federal campaign finance legislation, and likely in conflict with many of the most vocal advocates of campaign finance restrictions.

As The Bee reported in this editorial, Lungren, R-Gold River, claims to be an advocate of full campaign finance disclosure. He is ambivalent about whether the century-old prohibition on corporations giving directly to candidates should be lifted.

But Lungren, whose district includes parts of Sacramento, Elk Grove and stretches east to the Sierra, opposes caps on direct donations to candidates, a stand that places him in conflict with advocates of strict campaign finance regulation.

In November, Lungren fended off the well-financed campaign of Democrat Ami Bera, with the help of heavy spending by an organization that is the brainchild of Karl Rove, as reported in this column.

In 2012, Lungren almost surely will face another challenge, perhaps including from the right depending on how the boundaries of the congressional districts are redrawn by the new citizens' commission on redistricting. He certainly will face another Democratic challenge. As Democrats push the issue of campaign finance disclosure, Lungren's stand is sure to be fodder for his next campaign.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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