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Penalty for lobbyist — but not politicians — after $51,000 birthday party

Penalty for lobbyist — but not politicians — after $51,000 birthday party

The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission fined lobbyist John Ek more than $11,000 on Tuesday for inviting dozens of city officials to a birthday party with free food, drinks and musical entertainment, saying he had violated city rules that restrict gifts from registered lobbyists.

But politicians and other city officials who attended the expensive event were able to repay Ek for party costs and avoid any penalty. Sergio Perez, the Ethics Commission’s enforcement director, said that under city and state rules, if someone quickly reimburses the gift giver, “it’s as if a gift was not received.”

Nearly two years ago, Ek paid more than $51,000 to celebrate his...

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