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Close the loophole

first_imgNow we know. For all that Measure R purported to do, it didn’t close the loophole that allows lobbyists to hold fundraisers for politicians and pressure other people to donate money to them. Over the past three years, for example, lobbyist fundraisers have raised about $1 million for L.A.’s elected officials, nearly half of that last year. Politicians are so rolling in the cash that a number of the council members who ran for re-election in last week’s election raised hundreds of thousands of dollars – even though they faced no competition. Clearly, we’re never going to separate politics and money. But the City Council owes it to the public to make good on its Measure R promises. Last week, the Ethics Commission began a series of workshops that will review the lobbyists rules and reforms of Measure R. We encourage commissioners to do what the elected officials never will – craft real reform to clean up City Hall corruption. The problem, of course, isn’t really the lobbyists, contractors and other special interests. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do: Look after their own or their clients’ interests. The problem is the politicians whose job it is to look after the public interest. And one of these days, the public will get fed up with their failure to do just that and replace them with people who will do the job they were elected to do. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ALL along, critics of Measure R – the phony ethics reform initiative that passed in November – have warned that it would not stop lobbyists from funneling money to politicians. And just four months later, it’s clear the critics were right. The real purpose of Measure R wasn’t ethics reform. It was giving do-nothing, overpaid and over-pampered City Council members a third four-year term. But since relaxing term limits doesn’t play well with voters, the politicians bundled it with changes in campaign fundraising laws that were supposed to make it harder for lobbyists to buy and sell influence. It was a sham, but the city Ethics Commission was deliberately cut out of the debate to put the measure on the ballot, so the full extent of the sham was never made clear to the public before the vote. last_img read more

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