Anonymous tip may trigger ethics inquiry on alleged gifts to Kamala Harris

State Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris at a press conference in February.

State Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris at a press conference in February.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A state ethics agency has told California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris that it may launch an inquiry into an allegation that she received gifts from a company owned by a San Francisco interior designer that exceed legal limits.

On Oct. 13, the Fair Political Practices Commission sent a letter to Harris, who is running for U.S. Senate, stating that the agency “is considering initiating an investigation concerning your receipt of furnishings, accessories and services from Ken Fulk, Inc., over the gift limit.”

The allegation was made in an anonymous tip to the agency, said FPPC spokesman Jay Wierenga. He cautioned that the agency investigates more than 1,000 complaints a year and initiates hundreds more. The agency has simply requested a response from Harris at this point, which is pending, he said.


“I would categorize it as routine,” he said.

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Wierenga declined to provide details about the tip, including a description of the gifts or when they were allegedly given. Under state law, state elected officials are prohibited from receiving a gift or gifts totaling more than $460 in a calendar year, with a few exceptions such as gifts from family members.

Harris, a Democrat, is a former San Francisco district attorney who was elected attorney general in 2010 and reelected last year.

“Ken Fulk is a personal friend of the AG’s,” said Los Angeles attorney Stephen Kaufman, who is representing Harris in the matter, “and we’re confident that this will be resolved quickly and easily.”

Harris has known Fulk for years and, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the designer was among the many guests at her Santa Barbara wedding in August 2014. Fulk also has contributed $5,000 to Harris’ campaigns for attorney general, state elections records show.

Fulk could not immediately be reached for comment.

Times staff writer Patrick McGreevy contributed to this report.

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