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“This further demonstrates that Rep. Waters abuses her position for the financial benefit of family members,” Ms. Sloan said. “She intervened with the Treasury Department on behalf of a bank in which her husband holds stock and she requires candidates seeking her endorsement to pay her daughter to be including on a mailing.”

Ms. Sloan said Americans have “long believed politicians’ votes are for sale.”

“Now we learn it’s not just their votes, but their endorsements as well,” she said. “This just confirms that at least some politicians really are bought and paid for.”

One political consultant who was troubled by Mrs. Waters‘ mailer practice said, “Like it or not, it’s a reality when you’re running for office in L.A. or campaigning statewide. ” He asked not be identified because he works with candidates who want to be in the mailer.

Mr. Skelton, the consultant whose candidate paid to be included in the mailer, said he didn’t think the Waters endorsement and contribution were linked: “She makes a decision independently. Then you have the opportunity of participating in the slate mailer.”

If you decline to pay, he said, you are not listed in the mailer but you still have her endorsement.

Here is how the process works, according to numerous interviews by The Washington Times with consultants familiar with the mailer.

First, Mrs. Waters interviews candidates and makes her endorsements. Then her daughter calls the endorsed candidates and tells them how much they need to pay for their share of the costs of being in the mailer.

It was in 2004 when Mrs. Waters got a unanimous advisory opinion from the FEC saying she could run her mailer but would need to do so through her federal campaign committee. The FEC said the payments from the other politicians were not considered donations but rather reimbursements and not subject to federal contribution limits.

The ruling allowed her to take unlimited amounts from campaign committees of other candidates for their share of the costs of printing and sending the mailers. Without the ruling, the payments from the other campaigns would be limited.

Mrs. Waters had begun the mailer in 1992 as a separate, nonfederal local political committee known as L.A. Vote, collecting more than $2.2 million until 2004. State elections records show that L.A. Vote paid about $450,000 to Karen WatersProgressive Connections and $115,000 to Edward Waters, the congresswoman’s son.

She sought the FEC ruling in 2004 after passage of the McCain-Feingold bill, which barred federal officials from operating local nonfederal committees not subject to federal campaign limits.

According to federal and state election records, the Waters campaign collected $231,550 from more than two dozen candidates or ballot issue initiatives during the campaign for the Democratic primary in June. The payments ranged from $45,000 for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s successful bid for lieutenant governor to $250 for candidates for the Democratic County Central Committee.

In addition to Mr. Newsom and Mr. Jones, the state insurance commission candidate, 17 candidates or campaigns paid $5,000 or more to be on the sample ballot, the records show. They include $25,000 payments from San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who won the attorney general nomination, and State Sen. Gloria Romero, who ran unsuccessfully for superintendent for public instruction.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, who leads her Republican challenger, Carly Fiorina, a former chief executive at Hewlett-Packard, by 4 percentage points in the latest polls, paid $5,000 to be included in the mailer.

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