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L.A. Ethics Commission bans free tickets

July 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission voted to ban elected city officials from accepting free tickets to sporting or entertainment events.Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's free tickets to events like the Emmy's and Dodgers and Lakers games is what prompted the commission's rule change.

At dozens of events, the mayor would present a proclamation, then sit down and watch a free game or award ceremony. Others did it, but Villaraigosa was the most visible.

"When I attended many of these events, it was such that you could perform a public function and attend an event," Villaraigosa said.

The commission and state Fair Political Practices commission are looking into the mayor's freebies. The District Attorney is looking into them as well.

"While we definitely acknowledge the benefit of the public role our elected officials can serve at these events, the benefit ends when all they're doing is sitting as a member of the audience at that event," said Heather Holt, the commission's director of policy and legislation.

The commission's actions still have to be approved by the City Council.

"I've attended the vast majority of these events performing a ceremonial or a public function," the mayor said. "If the commission believes that it's a situation that they want to change, I can support that.

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