After weeks of wrangling with the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, 9th District City Council candidate Donald Lumpkin has decided to lend his campaign an additional $100,000 after being told his previous personal loans made his campaign ineligible for public matching funds.
Lumpkin's action means he now has made personal loans totaling $165,200 in his campaign to unseat Councilwoman Rita Walters in the district that runs from Chinatown and Downtown south along the Harbor Freeway to 84th Street. She has held the seat since a 1991 special election to fill a vacancy created by the death of Councilman Gilbert Linsday.
In a recent letter to Lumpkin, the ethics commission staff said it has asked its enforcement division to review the loans. Previously, the commission's policy division concluded that because Lumpkin has given his campaign more than $25,000 in personal loans, he was ineligible for public matching funds.
Lumpkin responded by blasting the commission and claiming its actions have hurt his campaign. The dispute between Lumpkin and the ethics commission stems from a long-simmering feud over his request for public matching funds. The funds are released by the city to candidates who agree not to exceed a certain spending limit.
Beginning in early February, Lumpkin applied for the matching funds but was told by the ethics commission staff that he was ineligible because neither of the other two candidates in the race--Walters and Bob Gay, a deputy to 10th District Councilman Nate Holden--had reached the $50,000 threshold in fund raising or campaign spending. The threshold, city officials say, was established to prevent one candidate from receiving matching funds until at least one other campaign demonstrates that it can wage a viable race.
Lumpkin's lending practices, commission official Rebecca Avila said, have been referred--without recommendation--to the commission's enforcement section.