L.A. Ethics Commissions Says No Free Tickets For Elected Officials
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been widely criticized and locally investigated for accepting valuable sports and entertainment tickets to events at which he said he had ceremonial duties as the city's top leader.
On Tuesday the city Ethics Commission said it's not having it. At least from here forward. The body voted to prohibit elected officials from accepting tickets in order to perform ceremonial functions. It's not clear, however, if the commission's ruling means Villaraigosa is off the hook for his own acceptance of more than 80 tickets, reported by LA Weekly to be worth as much as $100,000. The Ethics Commission, the District Attorney and the state Fair Political Practices Commission were looking into the scandal.
Under the new rule officials could show up at events and perform ceremonial duties -- including announcements and certificate presentations -- but they'd have to leave immediately afterward or else pay for their own tickets.
The commission also decided to require officials to disclose the source of any tickets and keep such records for four years. Villaraigosa has yet to reveal the sources of his tickets, and some critics are concerned that entities with business before the council have given Villaraigosa valuable items that have not been registered as political gifts.
The commission's changes, however, still require City Council approval.
"Our view was that accepting these types of passes from restricted sources could be as damaging to the perception of governmental processes as accepting a gift from these persons,'' said Heather Holt, the commission's director of policy and legislation.