Politics, government and public life for Southern California

House Ethics Committee had a busy year

It was a busy year for the House Ethics Committee.

In its end-of-the-year report, the House Ethics Committee says it met 35 times in 2012. That's more than twice the number of meetings in the year before.

A great part of the committee's time is spent training Congressional staffers about the rules and regulations. It also answers questions - a lot of them, apparently. Over the past two years, the committee fielded 40 thousand requests for "guidance" from staffers via phone, email or personal visits to the Ethics office.

The other side to the House Ethics Committee is its investigative work.

Over the past two years, it looked into nearly 100 different matters. The committee publicly addressed 27 of its investigations - just under a third of the total cases.

Several of those cases involved Californians.

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Long Beach Democrat Laura Richardson's campaign awash in red ink

Congresswoman Laura Richardson is in trouble.

The publication “Roll Call” already lists her as the lawmaker most likely to lose her seat. Internal polling numbers from her opponent Janice Hahn show Richardson trailing by 16 points, with 30 percent undecided.

And according to the latest report filed with the Federal Election Commission, she owes more than $500,000 to her campaign treasurer, graphic designer, pollster, fundraising consultant, a couple of restaurants, the phone company, and lawyers.

The Long Beach Democrat only has about $68,000 dollars in campaign cash on hand.

During the last quarter, Richardson had to lend her campaign more money than she’d raised in campaign donations. She raised under $7000; she lent the campaign $9000. So far, she’s committed $19,000 of her own money to her reelection bid. 

Among those who contributed to the Richardson campaign last quarter was her mentor, the late Congressman and Lt. Governor Mervyn Dymally. She credits him with encouraging her to run for Congress.

Richardson is running against fellow Democrat, freshman Congresswoman Janice Hahn, in a newly drawn district.

Hahn is also in the red; she owes more than $60,000 than she has on hand. Hahn owes money for polling, printing, advertising, legal fees, and consulting. 

One consultant is longtime Democratic advisor Joe Trippi, who worked on campaigns for Tom Bradley and Alan Cranston and on the presidential runs of Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, Richard Gephardt, Howard Dean and, most recently, John Edwards.

Hahn also owes money to a baseball club that is not the Dodgers.

Her father, the late L.A. County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, was instrumental in bringing the Dodgers west from Brooklyn. Janice Hahn had a fundraising event in Washington, DC at Nationals Park, where the Washington Nationals play.

It's doubtful the money owed to the baseball team in DC cost her poltically: the Nats were playing the Dodgers that night.

But Hahn's fundraising prospects are better than Richardson's. Last quarter, Hahn raised nearly $180,000. That’s more than 25 times the amount raised by Laura Richardson. 

 

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