The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is investigating whether City Council members in several outlying municipalities have been illegally using government credit cards to pay the dinner tabs of people they meet to discuss government business, according to a top county prosecutor.
The investigations stem from citizen complaints in three or four cities, not including the city of Los Angeles, said David E. Demerjian, head of the district attorney's public integrity division. Demerjian said the complaints allege that officials "are using City Council credit cards for personal stuff, and that a lot of it is for dinners." The questionable expenditures amount to a "few hundred dollars per month on each card," he said, declining to reveal further details.
If convicted, council members would be forbidden to ever again hold public office and could be sentenced to up to four years in prison.
The existence of the inquiry emerged last week as a result of an official legal opinion issued by the California attorney general's office in response to a question from Demerjian's office.