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Council OKs Reforms to Streamline Ethics Law

October 30, 1998

The Los Angeles City Council has approved several changes to lobbying and campaign finance ordinances, part of an effort to streamline ethics laws.

The council agreed to the changes only after some complaints from one of the Ethics Commission's targets: Councilman Hal Bernson.

Bernson, who was fined $1,500 by the commission last year for using his officeholder account for Hollywood Bowl tickets, blasted the Ethics Commission as a "kangaroo court."

Bernson said he made proper use of his account because he used the money to entertain city commissioners and discuss city business.

Under the changes, the council members' officeholder accounts can no longer be used for entertainment.

Other changes approved by the council include a reduction--from $1,000 to $500--in contributions to council members' officeholder accounts.

Currently, council members are limited to $500 contributions to their election campaigns.

In addition, the council expanded the disclosure requirements for lobbyists. Lobbyists also will attend mandatory training sessions on the new registration and disclosure requirements.

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