Lobbyists under more scrutiny

first_imgWith ethics in government continuing to dominate its attention, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday toughened reporting requirements for lobbyists, but deferred requiring ethics training for campaign consultants. The new regulations require lobbyists to begin filing quarterly reports online, listing the companies and issues for which they are hired and how much they are paid. Officials said about half of registered lobbyists already file electronically and the new requirement is designed to increase public awareness of top issues at City Hall. But voicing concerns ranging from the need for ethics training to the public perception of elected officeholders, the council said it wanted more study on training requirements for paid campaign workers. Pelham said she believed an online training program could be set up, but Councilman Jack Weiss questioned whether it would comply with the language of the ordinance. “You and the Ethics Commission that is sitting now might interpret it as being OK, but some commission in the future could decide it’s a violation,’ Weiss said. “We ought to have language that is clear on what is allowed.’ Councilman Bill Rosendahl said concerns over the measure showed why he is among a group of officials who support complete public financing of campaigns. “I want to take all the money out of politics,’ Rosendahl said. “I believe it is the root of so much that is wrong in politics.’ The Ethics Commission is scheduled to discuss a full public-financing campaign for city offices at its Nov. 8 meeting. Critics have said the problem with such a plan is that it has been unable to deal with spending by independent committees that are playing a growing role in politics. The council’s moves come as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has made ethics one of the top priorities of his administration. On Monday, the Board of Airport Commissioners voted to establish its own Office of Ethics and Business Conduct to develop its own regulations and advise workers of city laws. Pelham said Tuesday that she supported the concept behind the plan, but wanted to make sure there was no conflict with what her office is doing. “I think we want to make sure the taxpayers aren’t paying twice for the same thing, and we want to make sure that we have the same standards for all departments,’ Pelham said. @tagline columnist: Rick Orlov can be reached at (213) 978-0390 or by e-mail at [email protected] AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “Part of my problem with this is that it shows the Ethics Commission doesn’t really know how campaigns are run,’ said Councilman Greig Smith. “This is a stupid way to do things.’ Ethics Commission Director LeeAnn Pelham said the proposal was designed to meet complaints it had received from candidates that consultants were not given enough information on how to follow city ethics laws. The proposal would require all campaign consultants and strategists to undergo special training on the city’s rules regarding fund-raising, spending and matching funds. However, Councilman Eric Garcetti and others raised concerns over how the measure would apply to consultants who live outside Los Angeles. “They might be back East and would have no reason to come out here,’ Garcetti said. “I don’t think we should set up a system where we are creating a monopoly among Los Angeles consultants with no competition.’ center_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img