Gatto amends pending lobbying measure

In the midst of a corruption probe of the L.A. County Assessor’s Office, Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) is amending a measure he’s already introduced to require people who lobby county assessors to adhere to the same lobbying rules as those who lobby county boards of supervisors.

Gatto said the alleged scandal in the local assessor’s office “raised awareness” that there is no mechanism in place to track tax agents or identify them.

AB 404 would require tax agents to register as lobbyists in counties where lobbying is already regulated.

The measure would require the public disclosure of who is paying tax agents to obtain what sometimes are multi-million-dollar windfalls for their clients through favorable treatment by assessors.

“We should treat those who lobby county assessors the same as those who lobby county supervisors, requiring a modicum of disclosure and setting certain ground rules on what is, and is not, acceptable,” Gatto said in a statement.

The bill would also prohibit tax agents from making campaign contributions to assessors.

L.A. County Assessor John Noguez said he supports Gatto’s measure, calling it “long overdue and a much-needed reform.”

In a statement, Noguez said he has drafted his own proposal to “require tax agents to register with the county and report their activities in a way that is consistent with AB 404.”

Noguez’s proposal would have to be approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.


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