SAN FRANCISCO — California's state auditor recommended lawmakers clarify a law to make sure private firms operating conduit issuers avoid conflicts of interest.

State auditor Elaine Howle said in the report released Thursday that it's legally unclear whether the California Statewide Communities Development Authority and the California Municipal Finance Authority, joint-powers agencies staffed by employees of private consulting firms, have violated conflict of interest laws by paying fees to the firms based on how many bonds they sell.

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