Politico Revealed “Employment Negotiations” Between Gonzalez and a Powerful Special Interest Group that Violate the California Political Reform Act
Reform California today announced it has filed an ethics complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) demanding an immediate investigation and enforcement actions be taken against Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez after a Politico story late Tuesday night confirmed “employment negotiations” have been occurring between Gonzalez and the powerful California Labor Federation.
Gonzalez quickly took to Twitter after the story broke to claim she has not yet accepted the job – but provisions in the California Political Reform Act (CPRA) make that immaterial to whether she has run afoul of state ethics laws.
In fact, a state official who simply negotiates employment with a potential employer is covered under the law. Under subdivision (c) of Regulation 18747 of the CPRA, “a public official is 'negotiating' employment when he or she interviews or discusses an offer of employment with an employer or his or her agent.”
Once it is established that a state official has engaged in conduct that triggers subdivision (c), Section 87407 of the CPRA applies: "No public official, shall make, participate in making, or use his or her official position to influence, any governmental decision directly relating to any person with whom he or she is negotiating, or has any arrangement concerning, prospective employment."
Gonzalez has been the staunchest advocate for the California Labor Federation in the Assembly and is on record sponsoring and voting for their legislation and utilizing her office to influence state agency activities.
“While she should have been serving only the interest of her constituents, Lorena Gonzalez has broken all ethical norms by negotiating a sweetheart employment opportunity with a powerful special interest group while doing their bidding in the Assembly,” notes Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California.
“Not only do we demand an immediate ethics investigation into this matter, but it is clear that Lorena Gonzalez must resign to remove any suggestion that she is using her elected office to benefit a special interest group that she has been engaged in employment negotiations with,” DeMaio says.
DeMaio said any investigation by the FPPC should include review of texts, cell calls, and emails for at least the last seven months as well as sworn testimony from board members to the California Labor Federation. DeMaio said the seven month timeframe is key because Gonzalez was rejected by Gov. Gain Newsom for appointment to the Secretary of State position in March of this year – thus prompting the Assemblymember to look for outside employment opportunities.
“Gonzalez will try to play the public for fools by claiming she had absolutely no conversations with the California Labor Federation – but the FPPC needs to put her and others under oath to get to the truth,” DeMaio concludes.
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