SEPTEMBER 15, 2005
Corruption in fundraising is so rampant in Los Angeles County that nearly a decade ago voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative that limited election fundraising. The problem is that the violations continue and no candidate or donor has ever been fined, punished or prosecuted for breaking the law.
The reason is a good example of government bureaucracy. The two agencies?the district attorney and registrar-recorder–designated to police the law disagree about which one should look for violations.
It gets better; the district attorney’s office has concluded that the rules are all but unenforceable. Could it be because the district attorney (Steve Cooley) himself accepted donations from registered lobbyists who are barred from contributing to county campaigns?
Cooley accepted more than $5,000 from barred lobbyists and so did numerous other elected county officials, including County Supervisors Mike Antonovich, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and Don Knabe. Incidentally, Knabe was recently quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying “I think the county does a strong job policing itself.”
The county’s five elected supervisors manage a $19 billion bureaucracy responsible for running hospitals, caring for foster children and jailing criminals.
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