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The Associated Press October 14, 2011, 5:07PM ET

Finances force Calif. gov't reform group to close

A quiet voice for government reform in California is fading away.

The Center for Governmental Studies -- a small, nonprofit think tank in Los Angeles -- announced it's closing its doors.

For nearly three decades, the center cranked out research and pushed for changes to limit political donations and improve the way government does business. It was never a household name but its work was well known among elected officials, Sacramento insiders and journalists.

An email from the center Thursday blamed the sour economy for choking off financial support. Government records show contributions to the group dropped about 80 percent between 2008 and last year.

Those records showed the group's expenses exceeded its income last year by $1.6 million.

"The recession has depleted our funding and we cannot continue," the email said.

The group, known for working across party lines, shut down at a time when partisan gridlock has paralyzed governments across the U.S.

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