For Immediate Release: February 15, 2023
Contact: Nancy Jackson (213) 978-1960
The Ethics Commission unanimously approved a stipulated order at its meeting today, imposing a fine of $2,500 against former City Councilmember Paul Koretz (Koretz) for causing prohibited political fundraising.
In 2021, while representing City Council District 5 and running for City Controller in the 2022 elections, Koretz’s campaign asked Jill Banks Barad-Hopkins (Barad-Hopkins) to host a fundraising event at her home for the Koretz campaign. At the time, Barad-Hopkins was a member of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. City commissioners are prohibited from engaging in political fundraising for City candidates. The Koretz campaign failed to consider Barad-Hopkins’s status as a commissioner when it asked her to host the fundraising event. After the Koretz campaign was alerted to the violation, the Koretz campaign voluntarily returned all contributions related to the fundraising event. Barad-Hopkins was previously fined for this violation by the Ethics Commission.
To help preserve the integrity of City elections and avoid undue influence, City board and commission members who are required to file a statement of economic interests (California Form 700) are prohibited from engaging in certain political fundraising activities on behalf of a City candidate or a City controlled committee. Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) § 49.7.11(C)(2). Prohibited fundraising includes, among other things, inviting someone to a fundraising event; permitting one’s name to appear on a solicitation for contributions or an invitation to a fundraising event; and providing the use of one’s home for a fundraising event. LAMC § 49.7.11(A)(2). A person is subject to administrative enforcement for violating a provision of the campaign finance laws or for causing another person to violate a provision. Los Angeles City Charter § 706; LAMC § 49.7.39(E).
“Today’s decision demonstrates that the Ethics Commission is committed to upholding the laws that protect the integrity of the electoral process and help to foster public confidence in local government,” said Jeffery Daar, the President of the Ethics Commission.
All penalties levied by the Ethics Commission are paid to the City’s general fund. Enforcement orders can be viewed and searched through the Ethics Commission’s Public Data Portal.
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The Ethics Commission was created by Los Angeles voters in 1990 to impartially administer and enforce the City’s governmental ethics, campaign financing, and lobbying laws.