San Diego County supervisors have long had what many call a “slush fund,” millions of dollars they can spend in any way they wish. inewsource investigative assistant Leonardo Castaneda analyzed 16 years of records to find that while the funds are meant to help improve neighborhoods, generally through grants to nonprofits, half of the money has gone back to the county itself. Each supervisor had $1 million a year in these discretionary funds, but when Castaneda began his inquiry, the board was considering doubling that amount. In this rolling investigation, His project exposed the the loose rules for grantmaking and the fact that some supervisors take personal credit and acknowledgement for the funding — when that's not allowed. Those practices fuel the critics who say the “slush fund” is less about improving neighborhoods and more about securing the supervisors' re-election bids.
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