A new bill at the state Capitol would impose tighter conflict-of-interest rules on local elected officials in California.
Currently, elected officials only need to recuse themselves from voting on contracts for immediate family members or their spouses if there’s a common financial interest – for example, if they live together, or co-own a business. Democratic state Senator Tony Mendoza says elected officials should recuse themselves even if there isn’t a direct financial relationship.
“If you violate this – which, by voting on the contract, you violated it – you’re done,” Mendoza says. “You can’t hold office again in California.”
Violators could also face fines or prison time.
It’s Mendoza’s second attempt to make this change. A similar measure died three years ago. The League of California Cities opposed that effort. It argued that genuine financial conflicts of interest are already regulated by existing law.