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Fourth client drops lobbyist firm hit with record fines

March 10, 2014|By Patrick McGreevy

SACRAMENTO -- The Orange County Transportation Authority on Monday became the fourth client to drop the firm Sloat Higgins Jensen and Associates as its lobbyist in Sacramento since the company was hit by record fines for making improper campaign contributions to dozens of elected state officials.

Others who have dropped the firm in the last month include the San Francisco 49ers Football Co., Verizon Communications and Accenture.

Together, the four clients represented $734,0000 of the $4.7 million paid to the lobbying firm last year.

The OCTA board voted on Monday to cancel its $420,000, two-year contract with the firm that was set to extend throughout the current legislative session, said Joel Zlotnik, a spokesman for the authority.

“Given what we need to do in Sacramento, it's not in our best interest to have this firm that had a fine levied against it,” Zlotnik said.

Last month, the state Fair Political Practices Commissioned fined the Sloat firm $133,500, the largest amount in a lobbying case, for providing 37 politicians with improper campaign contributions in the form of expensive wine, cigars and liquor served at lavish fundraisers at the home of lobbyist Kevin Sloat.

State law bars lobbyists, who are paid to influence the crafting of legislation and public policy in Sacramento, from making or arranging donations or costly gifts to officeholders. The politicians involved, including Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders, were issued warning letters by the FPPC after its investigators determined they did not know that the wine and cigars were provided by Sloat.

ALSO:

Gov. Jerry Brown reports more than $11,000 in gifts

California lawmakers report meals, sports tickets, other gifts

Assembly speaker got nearly $38,000 in gifts, travel last year

patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com


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