CITY ETHICS PANEL VOTES TO CURB LOBBYISTS' FUND-RAISING ACTIVITIES.Byline: Patrick McGreevy Daily News Staff Writer
Concerned that lobbyists might gain undue influence over elected leaders, the Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. Ethics Commission In the United States, an Ethics Commission is a commission established by State law to discourage dishonest practices by their public employees and elected officials. Almost all American states have such a commission. voted Wednesday to limit the fund-raising fund-raising, large-scale soliciting of voluntary contributions, especially in the United States. Fund-raising is widely undertaken by charitable organizations, educational institutions, and political groups to acquire sufficient funds to support their activities. activities of lobbyists.
The panel gave preliminary approval to rules that would prohibit pro·hib·it
tr.v. pro·hib·it·ed, pro·hib·it·ing, pro·hib·its
1. To forbid by authority: Smoking is prohibited in most theaters. See Synonyms at forbid.
2. lobbyists from hosting fund-raisers for elected officials and that would limit the lobbyists' bundled contributions, gathered from several sources.
Lobbyists have been known to give council members tens of thousands of dollars in bundled contributions. Under the new rule, bundled contributions could not exceed $500 for council members and $1,000 for the mayor and other citywide officials.
``The ability to say `I can raise money for you' does give disproportionate dis·pro·por·tion·ate
Out of proportion, as in size, shape, or amount.
dispro·por access,'' said City Councilman Michael Feuer Michael Feuer (1958-) is a Californian politician and lawyer. He now represents the 42nd Assembly District which includes Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and part of Los Angeles in the California State Assembly. He was elected in 2006 on the Democratic ticket. , noting he does not accept lobbyist contributions.
Without a formal vote, commissioners also agreed to study whether to ban political consultants from lobbying city officials they helped get elected. The Daily News reported Dec. 28 that some political consultants, including Steven Afriat, were lobbying officials they helped elect. Afriat's company bragged in a letter to potential clients that his consulting work was the ``secret'' of his success as a lobbyist.
Commission President Ed Guthman Edwin O. Guthman (born 1919) is a journalist. He was the editorial page editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer (1977-1987), the national editor for the Los Angeles Times from 1965 to 1977, a reporter for the Seattle Star (1941-1947), and a reporter for said the Afriat letter shows there could be legitimate governmental interest in restricting or prohibiting consultants from lobbying officials they helped get elected.
``I think it (letter) speaks for itself as to whether there's an interest,'' Guthman told Rebecca Avila, the panel's executive director, when she proposed that the issue be studied.
Avila said the Afriat letter and Daily News stories raise concerns that might warrant legislative action.
``It raises the issue about whether there ought to be some regulation or even a prohibition prohibition, legal prevention of the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages, the extreme of the regulatory liquor laws. The modern movement for prohibition had its main growth in the United States and developed largely as a result of the on political consultants' being able to lobby elected officials who were their clients,'' Avila told the commission.
Avila said she would report to the commission on her recommendations.
Commissioners were unanimous in their vote asking the City Attorney's Office to draft a proposed ordinance A law, statute, or regulation enacted by a Municipal Corporation.
An ordinance is a law passed by a municipal government. A municipality, such as a city, town, village, or borough, is a political subdivision of a state within which a municipal corporation has been restricting lobbyists' fund-raising. The measure will return to the commission for a final vote of the commission before it goes to the City Council.
A federal judge recently blocked a state law banning lobbyists from contributing to officials they lobby.
Feuer urged the commission Wednesday to ban lobbyist contributions and fund-raising, saying they could give lobbyists special access to elected officials.
Guthman agreed that a lobbyist might get access to elected officials that is not available to the average citizen if the lobbyist is responsible for raising large amounts of campaign funds.
``It gives them an undue advantage,'' Guthman said.
However, Guthman and the other commissioners were not convinced that a lobbyist would get special access simply for contributing $500 to council members or $1,000 to a citywide candidate.
Commissioner Raquelle de la Rocha said the First Amendment rights of lobbyists to participate in the political process outweigh out·weigh
tr.v. out·weighed, out·weigh·ing, out·weighs
1. To weigh more than.
2. To be more significant than; exceed in value or importance: The benefits outweigh the risks. the chance that one contribution will buy them special treatment.
``If the maximum contribution is between $500 and $1,000, it's going to be very hard for someone to stand out in the pool of contributors,'' she said. ``So the risk of corruption that's necessary on the First Amendment balance - I don't see it being there to support a ban.
The rules, especially the ban on direct contributions, were opposed by Brian Maas, an attorney for some lobbyists, who questioned why additional regulations are needed when the city already requires lobbyists to disclose their activity.
``I don't think access necessarily means corruption,'' he told the commission.