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Ex-lawmakers want to eliminate surplus campaign accounts

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Two former members of the state Legislature say it is time for lawmakers to eliminate campaign surplus accounts.

Former state Rep. Toby Nixon and former state Sen. Bill Finkbeiner said Tuesday the accounts are being misused. They are working to build support among lawmakers to eliminate the accounts after an Associated Press story found that some politicians had spent excess money on iPads, clothing, car repairs tuition and alcohol.

Nixon is currently president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. Finkbeiner is a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.

State law currently allows politicians to use their surplus accounts for "office-related expenses." Nixon and Finkbeiner say that is too broad. They propose the elimination of the accounts and would allow politicians to either return excess money to contributors or to save it for future elections.

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