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The Real Deal Los Angeles

District Attorney will review Sea Breeze-related campaign contributions

L.A. Times investigation found more than $600K in campaign contributions were tied to developer Samuel Leung

November 02, 2016 08:30AM

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L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey

L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced Monday that it’s looking into more than $600,000 worth of campaign contributions connected to the developer of the Sea Breeze multifamily project in Gateway Harbor, following an extensive investigation into the contributions by the L.A. Times.

The newspaper found that more than 100 donors connected to developer Samuel Leung — including his former construction workers and even their relatives — contributed to the campaigns of numerous local politicians, including a committee that supported, but was independent from, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s 2013 bid.

Nearly a dozen of the donors denied making contributions or said they didn’t recall doing so.

Local prosecutors are “aware of the allegations” and will review them, a spokesperson for District Attorney Jackie Lacey told the Times.

The Ethics Commission has yet to confirm whether or not it will be conducting a separate investigation, and the same goes for the Fair Political Practices Commission, a state and local agency.

Some of the politicians implicated by the initial report, however, have voiced support for an Ethics Commission review, including Council member Gil Cedillo, who received at least $9,000 from Leung affiliates. He also promised to return any he received that might be deemed improper.

Garcetti’s camp has said it also welcomes an investigation.

“If someone clearly paid for another person’s donation,” the authorities should investigate, Garcetti’s spokesperson Connie Llanos told the Times.

It’s unlikely that any politicians will be charged in follow-up investigations because politicians rarely know the source of their campaign funding, Bob Stern, the former president of the California Center for Governmental Studies, told the Times. [LAT]Cathaleen Chen

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