Legislative leaders named in ethics investigation
An ethics probe into state lawmakers suspected of not reporting gifts they received from lobbying groups has implicated much of the leadership of the Legislature, records show.
Those who have been questioned in writing by the state Fair Political Practices Commission about gifts they received include Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), state Senate Republican leader Dennis Hollingsworth of Murrieta, Senate Republican leader-elect Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga and Assemblyman Martin Garrick of Solano Beach, who was elected this week to become the next Assembly Republican leader.
Others who got written notices that they are being investigated include Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter), Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Lori Saldana (D-San Diego) and Assembly Majority Whip Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco).
"They absolutely should know better," said Bob Stern, president of the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies. He said it is not surprising that so many leaders are involved. "Those in power get more goodies than those not in power. The wealthy get wealthier," Stern said.
Lawmakers have begun filing new documents to comply with disclosure rules. But they could be fined $5,000 for each violation, the commission warned in letters. Garrick allegedly failed to report $426 in gifts, including tickets to entertainment events from Oak Tree Racing and Sempra Energy. Saldana allegedly did not report $281 in food and beverage provided by Bank of America and the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, which runs a casino.
Hollingsworth allegedly failed to report $110 in airport parking and shuttle services provided by the city of Los Angeles, and Dutton allegedly did not disclose $101 in food and beverages from the California Professional Firefighters.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento