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Panel Eases Curbs on Lobbying by Ex-Officials

May 14, 1999

LOS ANGELES — Former Los Angeles city officials who move to other government agencies should be allowed to lobby the city on behalf of their new public employer, the Ethics Commission decided Thursday.

The panel recommended that the City Council adopt an exemption to the rule that says former city officials cannot lobby the city for one year after leaving office.

The action was taken after former City Councilman Richard Alarcon complained that he was hindered from advocating for unfinished city projects after he was elected to the state Senate in November.

"As the rules were, I was told I could not lobby the city on any project I worked on as a City Council member," Alarcon said. "I felt that was ridiculous."

Commission Deputy Director LeeAnn Pelham said the situation is likely to come up more often now that term limits are forcing elected city officials to run for other offices, including the Legislature.

There is no harm when a state legislator advocates a city project that he or she was involved in before leaving city service, Pelham told the commission.

"They wouldn't be trading on their city experience and contacts for private gain," Pelham said.

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