SACRAMENTO -- Responding to the fallout over a six-figure ethics violation fine for one of Sacramento’s top lobbyists, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) is proposing a measure that would prohibit lobbyists from hosting fundraisers at their home.
Kevin Sloat and his firm agreed Monday to pay a record administrative fine of $133,500 to the Fair Political Practices Commission, after the ethics agency found that the lobbyist had made improper, non-monetary campaign contributions to lawmakers when he provided expensive wine, liquor and cigars at fundraisers hosted at his home.
By banning lobbyists from holding in-home fundraisers, Garcia said her bill, AB 1673, would eliminate a discrepancy in state ethics law. Lobbyists currently may host private fundraisers in their home as long they cost less than $500, even though lobbyists cannot directly give more than $10 per month in gifts directly to elected officials.
“It really makes no sense that a lobbyist can’t buy lunch for a legislator for over $10, but can provide elaborate, exclusive dinners parties simply by stating that it is under the $500 limit,” Garcia said in a statement. “As we’ve seen, these in-home lobbyist events fly under the legal radar and I think that they should be banned.
“We as legislators must lead the way in complying with all campaign contribution laws and should be the first to close any loopholes and ban any practices that can lead to illegal conduct,” she added.
Some 40 politicians, including Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assemblyman John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), received letters from the FPPC this week warning that the expenses paid by Sloat at his fundraisers amounted to improper contributions.