SAN FRANCISCO — Firms that work as financial advisors helping California school districts issue bonds after serving as campaign consultants on the preceding bond measure have a conflict of interest and are engaged in a form of “pay-to-play,” critics say. 

Such firms, a small subset of the financial advisor sector in California, walk the school districts through the bond election process, then help the them select and negotiate prices with underwriters and bond counsel for the subsequent sale.

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