LA's ethics commission wants more transparency from lobbyists

City Hall in Downtown Los Angeles on August 17, 2017.
City Hall in Downtown Los Angeles on August 17, 2017.
Daryl Barker/KPCC

Listen to story

Download this story 0MB

The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission wants to know more about how lobbyists are seeking to influence city officials.

On Tuesday, commissioners approved a set of recommendations to increase transparency in lobbying, which next go to the city council for its approval.

Under the newly adopted recommendations:

In Los Angeles, lobbyists are defined as anyone who is paid to communicate directly with city officials to tip the scales on legislation for more than 30 hours in a three-month period.

Currently, registered lobbyists must pay a fee and complete quarterly reports that disclose the agencies they’ve spoken to regarding city business. Critics say this information is too vague, and does little to pinpoint the reach of lobbying efforts. The city of L.A. has over 40,000 employees. Depending on the size of an agency, the communication could be with any number of thousands of staffers.

During Tuesday's meeting, commissioners also voted to exempt more non-profits from registering as lobbyists:

The proposed rules come as the ethics commission completes a two-year overhaul of the rules that govern who must register as a lobbyist, what information they must report, and how often they must file city disclosure forms. An ethics commission official said the package of reforms will first go before the city's Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, at a date still to be determined.