LA becomes 1st city to enact ban on developer money

The ordinance has been criticized for letting developers make unlimited donations to independent expenditure committees

TRD LOS ANGELES /
Dec.December 04, 2019 11:27 AM
David Ryu (Credit: Getty Images)
David Ryu (Credit: Getty Images)

UPDATED, Dec. 4, 3:15 p.m.: Los Angeles has become the first city in the nation to ban development companies and their executives from contributing to city officials’ election campaigns.

The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the ordinance, according to CBSLA. The City Ethics Commission staff said L.A. is the only city in the country to enact such an ordinance, according to the report.

“Today, we took a crucial step in rebuilding trust in City Hall,” said Councilman David Ryu, who spearheaded the legislation. “There is nothing more fundamental than building trust in our democracy, and today, we are laying the foundation for a City Hall that works for the people,” Ryu said in his statement.

Before the vote, the Los Angeles Times had reported that the legislation would not take effect until after the March 2022 primary elections. The implementation delay would let candidates for mayor, controller, city attorney and the majority of the 15 city council seats collect money from developers in the next election cycle.

And even after the bill goes into effect, developers may continue to make unlimited donations to independent expenditure committees, the local and state government version in California of national political action committees.

Additionally, the legislation does not alter the practice of elected officials soliciting donations from developers toward officials’ hand-picked charities.

Government watchdog nonprofits including California Common Cause have criticized the bill for letting incumbent council members accumulate developer money in the next election cycle before only partly turning the spigot off.

Ryu has been working on banning developer money in City Hall since he came into office in 2015. (It should be noted that last month opponents criticized him for accepting donations from two developers, though Ryu said it slipped through the cracks and pledged to refund a dozen donations.)

Ryu’s initial legislative effort seemed to sputter in 2017, but it was revived last year when FBI officials raided the office of Ryu’s City Council colleague Jose Huizar.

An FBI warrant requested that some developers with new projects turn over gifts, vacations, and other perks they provided the Council member, who headed the Council’s Planning Land Use and Management committee, before then Council President Herb Wesson stripped him of that post following the raid.

Developers the FBI is seeking information on include Shenzhen New World Group, a China-based company with planned high-rise projects downtown and near Universal Studios, and Shenzhen Hazens, another Chinese company with a proposed downtown skyscraper. [LAT, CBSLA]Matthew Blake


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Jose Huizar in front of the perhaps doomed project.

City moves to kill $700M megaproject linked to Huizar scandal

City moves to kill $700M megaproject linked to Huizar scandal
Igor Olenicoff, President of Olen Properties (Credit: Tim Rue/Corbis via Getty Images)

Hundreds of California landlords down with PPP

Hundreds of California landlords down with PPP
Raymond Chan and Osama Younan

Former LA Building Dept. official alleges he was fired for reporting fraud

Former LA Building Dept. official alleges he was fired for reporting fraud
View of Carmel Partners' 520 Mateo

Huizar arrest fallout: Carmel Partners places exec on leave

Huizar arrest fallout: Carmel Partners places exec on leave
Carmel Partners CEO Ron Zeff and Jose Huizar (Credit: Desiree Stone/Getty Images)

“Call me boss”: How Carmel Partners became ensnared in the Jose Huizar corruption case

“Call me boss”: How Carmel Partners became ensnared in the Jose Huizar corruption case
Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar (Credit: Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“Rampant corruption at City Hall”: Feds charge Jose Huizar with taking bribes from developers

“Rampant corruption at City Hall”: Feds charge Jose Huizar with taking bribes from developers
Parker Center in downtown L.A.

City Council handcuffs Parker Center redevelopment

City Council handcuffs Parker Center redevelopment
Gary Gold, Paul George, Deandre Jordan, Jeff Bezos, and Garrett Camp (Credit: Getty Images, Flickr, Hilton & Hyland, Google Maps, Realtor, Pinterest, and iStock)

Long live NAR: Agents won’t defy powerful trade group in pocket listings spat

Long live NAR: Agents won’t defy powerful trade group in pocket listings spat
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...