The California Labor Federation, one of the largest and most influential union groups in California, voted to recommend Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) as their next leader on Tuesday in a non-binding vote, the Globe just reported Wednesday.
Politico ran a story late Tuesday night confirming “employment negotiations” have been occurring between Gonzalez and the powerful California Labor Federation.
However, many saw the articles and asked how a sitting elected Legislator can legally negotiate a future job with a labor group that regularly lobbies her on labor legislation?
Reform California announced Wednesday it has filed an ethics complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) demanding an immediate investigation, as well as enforcement actions, against Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez after news reports confirmed “employment negotiations” have been occurring between Gonzalez and the California Labor Federation.
“I am filing this complaint and requesting an immediate investigation be initiated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) into possible violations of the California Political Reform Act (CPRA) by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez,” Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California, said in the complaint.
“Late last night, the news outlet Politico confirmed ’employment negotiations’ have been occurring between Gonzalez and the powerful California Labor Federation.”
“Gonzalez quickly took to Twitter after the story broke to claim she has not yet accepted the job – but provisions in the California Political Reform Act (CPRA) make that immaterial to whether she has run afoul of state ethics laws,” Reform California noted.
Stop texting me. No one has offered me a job. I read it in Politico, too.
— Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (@LorenaSGonzalez) November 24, 2021
Reform California explains the legalities:
“In fact, a state official who simply negotiates employment with a potential employer is covered under the law. Under subdivision (c) of Regulation 18747 of the CPRA, ‘a public official is ‘negotiating’ employment when he or she interviews or discusses an offer of employment with an employer or his or her agent.’”
It is no secret to anyone involved in state politics that Gonzalez, who was CEO and Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO for five years prior to being elected to the Assembly in 2013, has been one of the most reliable legislative advocates for the California Labor Federation. She is on record sponsoring and voting for their legislation and utilizing her office to influence state agency activities, DeMaio said.
“While she should have been serving only the interest of her constituents, Lorena Gonzalez has broken all ethical norms by negotiating a sweetheart employment opportunity with a powerful special interest group while doing their bidding in the Assembly,” said DeMaio.
“Not only do we demand an immediate ethics investigation into this matter, but it is clear that Lorena Gonzalez must resign to remove any suggestion that she is using her elected office to benefit a special interest group that she has been engaged in employment negotiations with,” DeMaio said.
“I urge that any investigation by the FPPC should include review of texts, cell calls, and emails for at least the last seven months as well as sworn testimony from board members to the California Labor Federation,” DeMaio said in the complaint. “The seven month timeframe is key because Gonzalez was rejected by Gov. Gain Newsom for appointment to the Secretary of State position in March of this year – thus prompting the Assemblymember to look for outside employment opportunities.”
“This is now out in the public light – please demonstrate that the FPPC will not look the other way on this matter.”
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