Penalty for lobbyist but not LA politicians after $50K party

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Ethics Commission fined a lobbyist more than $11,000 for inviting city officials to a birthday party with free food, drinks and entertainment — saying he violated rules that restrict gifts from registered lobbyists.

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that politicians and other officials who attended were able to repay lobbyist John Ek for party costs and avoid any penalty.

Sergio Perez, the commission's enforcement director, says under city and state rules, if someone quickly reimburses the gift giver, "it's as if a gift was not received."

Ek paid more than $50,000 to celebrate his 50th birthday, hosting an invitation-only party for roughly 250 guests at a downtown bistro. An investigation found that he had invited 37 city officials to the event and had, therefore, offered them an improper gift.


Information from: Los Angeles Times,            

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