LA gets an”F” in Ethics

The City Council's decision smacks of conflicts of interests

The Ethics Commission of Los Angeles is responsible to enforce the city’s laws on campaign contributions and lobbying.

That is why it is particularly surprising that City Council President Herb Wesson has chosen Erin Pak as one of five commissioners on the ethics panel.

Pak is the wife of Chris Pak, owner of Archeon International Group. Over many years, this consulting firm and its employees have given tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to candidates and politicians running for city offices. Pak is considered to be one of the most active fundraisers in the LA’s political circles.

Their marital relationship clearly sets up the potential for conflict of interest or, at least, the appearance of one and raises many questions about how she will make decisions that have a direct impact on her husband. This is especially troubling in the area of policy changes that the Commission is expected to make.

IIn the case of Erin Pak, she has no experience in this area other than being a campaign donor; nor has she shown prior interest in the issue of transparency as have other commissioners. Her job is to head a Korean-based healthcare organization.

On the other hand, the process of her confirmation lacked the attention given to other prior appointees. Her appointment was brought forward on a special agenda and was approved unanimously by all 15 council members, nine of whom have received contributions in the past from Archeon.

This nomination seems to us to be a bad joke that offends the intelligence of Los Angelenos. It is unacceptable that the council members agreed that the best person for the job of monitoring ethical conduct in municipal circles is the wife of one of the biggest campaign fundraisers in the city.

They deserve an “F” in ethics!