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The city Ethics Commission on Friday lifted the voluntary spending cap on candidates in the race for San Francisco district attorney. One of the candidates, Kamala Harris, has already spent $302,505 — far exceeding the $211,000 limit. On Thursday, Harris filed a pair of documents with the commission: one saying she rejected the cap; the other noting that she had raised and spent more than the limit for the Nov. 4 election. Representatives for Harris’ opponents — Bill Fazio and incumbent Terence Hallinan — cried foul, saying she had earlier filed a statement accepting the spending caps. After a candidate accepts a voluntary spending cap, they face possible penalties under city campaign finance laws if they break them. Representatives for Fazio and Hallinan said Harris is either breaking the rules or looking for loopholes to get around them. It’s not clear, however, if Harris faces administrative, civil or criminal penalties. “The charter prohibits us from confirming or denying the existence of an enforcement matter,” said Mabel Ng, the commission’s deputy executive director. Under the city’s campaign finance law, the commission must lift the spending limit when it receives notice that a candidate who has declined to abide by the cap has spent more than the limit, a statement by the commission said. The commission’s statement also notes that Harris filed a notice in January with the Department of Elections to accept the voluntary spending limit. As a result, the voter information pamphlet for Nov. 4 that’s already on the department’s Web site says Harris agreed to voluntarily limit her spending. Harris’ campaign said there was a misunderstanding about the requirements due to amendments made to the city’s campaign finance law in July. According to campaign finance statements filed Thursday, Harris raised $348,281 from July 1, 2002, through Sept. 20. During the same period, Hallinan raised $108,186 and spent $105,989. Fazio pulled down $177,418 and spent $105,381.

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