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After Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took office in 2013, he helped launch a charity fund that allows donors to support diverse programs from environmental initiatives to youth employment.

Since then, Garcetti has reported raising more than $60 million from corporations, foundations, and individuals for the nonprofit Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles. A Times data analysis found that at least $3.8 million of that total came from contributors who gave through accounts that mask their identity, a practice that alarms ethics watchdogs who say such donations skirt a state law intended to make those donors’ names public.

These contributors used donor-advised funds, a type of charitable giving account offered by some nonprofit foundations and for-profit investment firms that provide a generous tax deduction and, when requested, anonymity.

Donor-advised funds have existed for decades and become popular in recent years among individuals and companies wanting to make charitable gifts. Their use for donations sought by elected officials in California was first reported last month by The Times.

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