Fish and Game official faces ethics complaint over hunting trip
A former Democratic Party official has filed an ethics complaint against Republican Daniel Richards, the head of the California Fish and Game Commission, asking for an investigation into whether he accepted a hunting trip valued at more than the state’s $420 gift limit.
The complaint was filed with the state Fair Political Practices Commission by Kathy Bowler, former executive director of the California Democratic Party and an animal rights activist.
Richards, an Upland resident, is facing calls from Democratic legislators to resign after he hunted and killed a mountain lion in Idaho, where it is legal, in January, even as his commission oversees laws banning such hunts in California.
"I think it was an abhorrent thing to do," Bowler said of the killing of the lion. Bowler said that she decided to request an FPPC investigation after reading press reports that Richards had originally traveled to the Flying B Ranch for a bird hunt, but that he was offered a lion hunt at no extra charge by a representative of the ranch.
Richards and the ranch's manager did not return calls Friday, so it is uncertain how much the hunt was discounted. Bird hunting packages are listed on the ranch's website as costing $3,200 to $5,100, while the normal cost for a mountain lion hunt is $6,800.
"Mr. Richards appears to be in violation of the law by accepting this gift," Bowler wrote in the formal complaint she filed with the FPPC. An official with the FPPC declined to comment.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: A mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains. Credit: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area