Dorian Hargrove 12:47 p.m., May 19
San Diego Ethics Exec Signs Off on Controversial State Reforms
The Los Angeles Times reports this morning that controversial new rules to allow lobbyists in dating "relationships" with legislators to pick up unlimited tabs without disclosure are being considered by the state's Fair Political Practices Commission.
After critics had their say at a hearing yesterday, a vote on the matter was continued until December 8.
As Kathay Feng, the head of California Common Cause, noted in the Times, “Given the recent egregious examples of relationships between legislators and lobbyists crossing the line, the public has every right to know what gifts a lobbyist is giving to a legislator.
“The concern with potential corruption does not stop just because the relationship has entered the bedroom.’’
One of the most infamous incidents involving alleged ties between legislator and lobbyist involved then-GOP Assembly Mike Duvall, caught on an open mic discussing his relationship with a representative of Sempra Energy.
The FPPC also took up a proposal to allow an official to partially reimburse a lobbyist for the value of a freebie in order to keep the gift under the current $420 absolute limit.
Reported the Times:"Commissioner Ronald Rotunda voiced concern that a special interest could give an official a $1,000 Rolex watch and the official could keep it without disclosing its full value as long as he pays the giver $580.
"'There is something unseemly’' about that transaction, Rotunda said. 'It just doesn’t look right.'
"Rotunda had to leave the meeting before the commission voted 4 to 0 to approve that rule."
Based on a November 7 letter to the FPPC, officials of the San Diego Ethics Commission raised no objections to any of the proposed rule changes.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Fair Political Practices Commission, and Commission Counsel Bill Lenkeit in particular, for graciously allowing the City of San Diego Ethics Commission to participate in the amendments of the state's gift regulations," says the letter, signed by executive director Stacey Fulhorst and education program manager Stephen Ross.
"We believe that the amendments as currently drafted represent a substantial improvement over the existing regulations.
"They eliminate redundancy and confusion in favor of simpler, more practical, and more enforceable provisions.
"Although it may be impossible to devise gift regulations that please everyone in every instance, we are confident that the proposed amendments will provide a significantly improved regulatory framework for all involved parties."
We have a call into Fulhorst.
City administrative offices are closed until Monday due to the Veterans Day holiday.
Pictured: Mike Duvall