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Policy

City law requires the Ethics Commission to evaluate the effectiveness of its laws. This is done on a regular basis through internally generated policy reviews. It also occurs on an ad hoc basis when distinct issues are of interest to the Ethics Commission members, such as when the City Council asks for an evaluation of a particular law or when an amendment to City law is required to reflect changes in state or federal law.

CURRENT REVIEWS

  • Itemization of Campaign Contributions

    The Ethics Commission would like to hear from you! We are seeking input from the public regarding the possibility of requiring City campaign committees to itemize and publicly disclose all contributions they receive.

    State law requires campaign committees to itemize contributions they receive that, in the aggregate, amount to $100 or more per contributor. Itemization means disclosing on periodic campaign statements (such as CA Form 460) the dates and amounts of the contributions and the contributor’s name, address, occupation, and employer. Campaign committees are already required to collect this information for all contributions of any amount, but contributions of less than $100 are disclosed on a campaign statement as a lump sum of “unitemized” contributions, with no identifying information.

    The City has a matching funds program that helps qualified candidates pursue elected City office by matching private contributions with public dollars at a 6-to-1 rate. The matching funds program encourages smaller contributions; and a qualified contribution of $99, for example, results in the candidate receiving $594 in public dollars. A candidate who claims matching funds for a contribution of less than $100 is required by City law to collect all of the identifying information required by state law but is not required to itemize that information on a campaign statement.

    To maximize transparency in elections and around the use of public money, the Ethics Commission is considering requiring all City committees to itemize and report all contributions on their campaign statements, rather than limiting that reporting to those who contribute $100 or more.

    Questions to consider include the following:

    • How valuable do you think this additional disclosure would be?
    • How important do you think this disclosure would be relative to any additional work it may create for committees?
    • Do you think it should apply to all City committees, including ballot measure and independent expenditure committees?
    • Do you think it should apply only to candidate committees?

    Your input will be most helpful if it is submitted online or by email to ethics.policy@lacity.org by Friday, May 31, 2024, but you may provide comments at any time. Written comments will be provided to the members of the Ethics Commission for their use in evaluating any proposals.

    If you have questions, please feel free to email us at the address above or call us at (213) 978-1960. Thank you for your feedback—it is greatly appreciated!

  • City Charter

    In December 2021, the Ethics Commission formed and appointed then Vice President Jeffery Daar and Commissioner Laura Genao to the Ad Hoc Charter Reform Subcommittee. This Subcommittee was created to explore possible amendments to sections 700-712 of the Los Angeles City Charter, which establish and provide the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Ethics Commission. The subcommittee solicited public comment by email and through its website, and it conducted interested persons meetings on March 31 and May 3, 2022.

    Based on input received from the public, as well as on the Ethics Commission’s own experiences administering its laws over the past 30 years, the subcommittee proposed a set of recommended changes to these laws. At its meeting on August 17, 2022, the Ethics Commission voted to establish its position on recommended changes to sections 700-712 of the Los Angeles City Charter.

    On October 18, 2022, the City Council requested that the City Attorney prepare the necessary documents to place the Ethics Commission’s recommendations before the voters on the next available ballot. That motion and the complete list of recommendations can be found in Council File 22-1232.

  • Lobbying Ordinance

    In 2020, former Ethics Commission President Melinda Murray formed a subcommittee, comprised of herself and Commissioner Jeffery Daar, to work with staff and obtain public input for the purpose of making a recommendation to the Ethics Commission on possible revisions to the City’s lobbying ordinance. Following a substantive review that included extensive input from members of the public and regulated community, the subcommittee’s recommendations were approved by the Ethics Commission on April 20, 2022.

    The Ethics Commission's recommendations were transmitted to the City Council on May 5, 2022, and referred to the Ad Hoc Committee on City Governance Reform. The committee began its review of the recommendations in 2023 and is currently soliciting input on both the Ethics Commission’s recommendations and its proposed amendments to them. You may track the matter's progress through Council File 22-0560.

PUBLIC COMMENT

The Ethics Commission would like to hear from you! 

We invite you to provide public comment on our current policy reviews or any other matter within the Ethics Commission's jurisdiction. Please complete the form below or email us at ethics.policy@lacity.org

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PROCESS

The review process involves public input, research, data analysis, and internal staff discussions. Based on all of that information, the staff makes initial determinations about what recommendations, if any, to present to the Ethics Commission members. Some reviews address limited issues, and others involve a comprehensive review of an entire ordinance, which can take months or years to complete.


The Ethics Commission members consider policy recommendations at public meetings and must vote to approve, modify, or reject them. The Ethics Commission cannot amend City ordinances, so any approved recommendation that would amend an ordinance must be forwarded to the City Council for action. The Ethics Commission can adopt formal policies that interpret existing ordinances, and those are effective upon approval.


Additional details about the legislative review process are depicted in The Path of Policy.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For questions regarding specific scenarios, please contact us prior to taking action.

  • How can I find out what happened with a legislative proposal that the Ethics Commission made to the City Council?

    Every meeting agenda includes a policy update, which tracks the status of the Ethics Commission’s legislative proposals. The updates identify the council file number of each proposal, which can be used to obtain additional information through the City Clerk’s council file index.

  • What will your next policy review be about?

    The policy update that is included in every meeting agenda also identifies a tentative schedule of upcoming policy projects. This “horizon snapshot” is fluid and can change at any time, but it does identify intended time lines as of the day the snapshot is created.

  • I provided comments during a review, but I don’t see my comments in the staff recommendations. Why not?

    Public comments are an extremely valuable part of the review process. However, there are typically many different views about issues, which means that not everyone’s ideas can be included. The staff assesses all input, as well as their own experiences in administering the laws and what they discover through data analysis. They then make an initial determination about how to best promote equity, transparency, and accountability. Whether they are incorporated into the staff recommendations or not, all written comments are provided to the Ethics Commission members, to help inform their decisions. You are also welcome to attend Ethics Commission meetings to verbally enter your comments into the record.

  • I would rather not put my comments in writing. Can I talk to someone instead?

    Yes. Written comments are valuable because they precisely communicate your perspectives. However, the Ethics Commission staff is happy to talk with anyone who would like to provide input, and verbal comments are considered along with written comments. Please contact us to speak with a staff member.

  • Can I provide comments anonymously?

    Yes.

PUBLIC DATA PORTAL

Search Former Website: Campaign | Lobbying

To search for public data and reports on the
Public Data Portal, click here.

CURRENT REVIEWS

  • Itemization of Campaign Contributions

    The Ethics Commission would like to hear from you! We are seeking input from the public regarding the possibility of requiring City campaign committees to itemize and publicly disclose all contributions they receive.

    State law requires campaign committees to itemize contributions they receive that, in the aggregate, amount to $100 or more per contributor. Itemization means disclosing on periodic campaign statements (such as CA Form 460) the dates and amounts of the contributions and the contributor’s name, address, occupation, and employer. Campaign committees are already required to collect this information for all contributions of any amount, but contributions of less than $100 are disclosed on a campaign statement as a lump sum of “unitemized” contributions, with no identifying information.

    The City has a matching funds program that helps qualified candidates pursue elected City office by matching private contributions with public dollars at a 6-to-1 rate. The matching funds program encourages smaller contributions; and a qualified contribution of $99, for example, results in the candidate receiving $594 in public dollars. A candidate who claims matching funds for a contribution of less than $100 is required by City law to collect all of the identifying information required by state law but is not required to itemize that information on a campaign statement.

    To maximize transparency in elections and around the use of public money, the Ethics Commission is considering requiring all City committees to itemize and report all contributions on their campaign statements, rather than limiting that reporting to those who contribute $100 or more.

    Questions to consider include the following:

    • How valuable do you think this additional disclosure would be?
    • How important do you think this disclosure would be relative to any additional work it may create for committees?
    • Do you think it should apply to all City committees, including ballot measure and independent expenditure committees?
    • Do you think it should apply only to candidate committees?

    Your input will be most helpful if it is submitted online or by email to ethics.policy@lacity.org by Friday, May 31, 2024, but you may provide comments at any time. Written comments will be provided to the members of the Ethics Commission for their use in evaluating any proposals.

    If you have questions, please feel free to email us at the address above or call us at (213) 978-1960. Thank you for your feedback—it is greatly appreciated!

  • City Charter

    In December 2021, the Ethics Commission formed and appointed then Vice President Jeffery Daar and Commissioner Laura Genao to the Ad Hoc Charter Reform Subcommittee. This Subcommittee was created to explore possible amendments to sections 700-712 of the Los Angeles City Charter, which establish and provide the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Ethics Commission. The subcommittee solicited public comment by email and through its website, and it conducted interested persons meetings on March 31 and May 3, 2022.

    Based on input received from the public, as well as on the Ethics Commission’s own experiences administering its laws over the past 30 years, the subcommittee proposed a set of recommended changes to these laws. At its meeting on August 17, 2022, the Ethics Commission voted to establish its position on recommended changes to sections 700-712 of the Los Angeles City Charter.

    On October 18, 2022, the City Council requested that the City Attorney prepare the necessary documents to place the Ethics Commission’s recommendations before the voters on the next available ballot. That motion and the complete list of recommendations can be found in Council File 22-1232.

  • Lobbying Ordinance

    In 2020, former Ethics Commission President Melinda Murray formed a subcommittee, comprised of herself and Commissioner Jeffery Daar, to work with staff and obtain public input for the purpose of making a recommendation to the Ethics Commission on possible revisions to the City’s lobbying ordinance. Following a substantive review that included extensive input from members of the public and regulated community, the subcommittee’s recommendations were approved by the Ethics Commission on April 20, 2022.

    The Ethics Commission's recommendations were transmitted to the City Council on May 5, 2022, and referred to the Ad Hoc Committee on City Governance Reform. The committee began its review of the recommendations in 2023 and is currently soliciting input on both the Ethics Commission’s recommendations and its proposed amendments to them. You may track the matter's progress through Council File 22-0560.

PUBLIC COMMENT

The Ethics Commission would like to hear from you! 

We invite you to provide public comment on our current policy reviews or any other matter within the Ethics Commission's jurisdiction. Please complete the form below or email us at ethics.policy@lacity.org

Loading

PROCESS

The review process involves public input, research, data analysis, and internal staff discussions. Based on all of that information, the staff makes initial determinations about what recommendations, if any, to present to the Ethics Commission members. Some reviews address limited issues, and others involve a comprehensive review of an entire ordinance, which can take months or years to complete.


The Ethics Commission members consider policy recommendations at public meetings and must vote to approve, modify, or reject them. The Ethics Commission cannot amend City ordinances, so any approved recommendation that would amend an ordinance must be forwarded to the City Council for action. The Ethics Commission can adopt formal policies that interpret existing ordinances, and those are effective upon approval.


Additional details about the legislative review process are depicted in The Path of Policy.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For questions regarding specific scenarios, please contact us prior to taking action.

  • How can I find out what happened with a legislative proposal that the Ethics Commission made to the City Council?

    Every meeting agenda includes a policy update, which tracks the status of the Ethics Commission’s legislative proposals. The updates identify the council file number of each proposal, which can be used to obtain additional information through the City Clerk’s council file index.

  • What will your next policy review be about?

    The policy update that is included in every meeting agenda also identifies a tentative schedule of upcoming policy projects. This “horizon snapshot” is fluid and can change at any time, but it does identify intended time lines as of the day the snapshot is created.

  • I provided comments during a review, but I don’t see my comments in the staff recommendations. Why not?

    Public comments are an extremely valuable part of the review process. However, there are typically many different views about issues, which means that not everyone’s ideas can be included. The staff assesses all input, as well as their own experiences in administering the laws and what they discover through data analysis. They then make an initial determination about how to best promote equity, transparency, and accountability. Whether they are incorporated into the staff recommendations or not, all written comments are provided to the Ethics Commission members, to help inform their decisions. You are also welcome to attend Ethics Commission meetings to verbally enter your comments into the record.

  • I would rather not put my comments in writing. Can I talk to someone instead?

    Yes. Written comments are valuable because they precisely communicate your perspectives. However, the Ethics Commission staff is happy to talk with anyone who would like to provide input, and verbal comments are considered along with written comments. Please contact us to speak with a staff member.

  • Can I provide comments anonymously?

    Yes.

PUBLIC DATA PORTAL

Search Former Website: Campaign | Lobbying

To search for public data and reports on the
Public Data Portal, click here.

RESOURCES
Los Angeles City home website

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Ethics Commission