Recusal Standards / City Officials / City Conflict of Interest Policy / Enhancement and Expansion

MOTION-- On January 15, 2019 Councilmembers Ryu, Krekorian, Koretz, Martinez, Bonin, and Buscaino
introduced a motion (CF 19-0046: Developer Contribution Restrictions / City Elected Officials /
Candidates for City Office), to add developers with business before the City Council to the City’s list of
restricted sources, which later led to the adoption of an ordinance restricting campaign contributions to
candidates for city office and officeholders, from restricted developers and their project principals.
Included in the initial motion was a request for the Los Angeles Ethics Commission to also study the
possibility of the City adopting the recusal model utilized by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit
Authority (LA METRO).

During June and July, 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, in response to press questions during
multiple COVID-19 press conferences, also stated support for the Metro recusal model.
Adopting a recusal model similar to the one at Metro would have two immediate benefits for Los
Angeles. First, concerns over contributions leading to partial voting patterns, could be addressed if an
individual or organization that has a matter pending before the City Council knows that members who
have received campaign contributions will be unable to vote, participate in discussion, or conduct work
of any kind on the matter. Second, it could be implemented immediately upon the approval of an
ordinance and does not require a public ballot, unlike some ethics reform proposals.

WE THEREFORE MOVE that the Ethics Commission be requested to consider the standards that other
agencies in the region apply to determine when decision makers for those agencies are required to
recuse themselves from participating in official acts, including the Los Angeles Metropolitan
Transportation Authority (LA METRO) recusal model, and make recommendations for the Council to
enhance the city’s conflict of interest policy and potentially expand the universe of conflicts that require
recusals by City officials.