Orange County Grand Jury Renews Call for Creation of Ethics Commission
For the second time in just over a year, the Orange County Grand Jury has called for the creation of an ethics commission to monitor and enforce campaign finance and reporting laws as well as other ethics policies and issues.
In a report released Tuesday, the grand jury concludes that “ethics, campaign and lobbyist reporting oversight and enforcement in Orange County is deficient in a number of ways” and advises supervisors to place the issue before voters in the next general election.
The grand jury made a similar recommendation last April, but it was rejected by the board due to cost concerns. The grand jury, however, insists that the benefits would far outweigh the cost, which it estimates at under $500,000 per year.
In addition to the creation of an ethics commission, the report took issue with the Board’s approval of proposed legislation which would allow the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) to investigate and enforce the county’s campaign finance laws. The grand jury expressed fears that the Orange County Campaign Reform Ordinance (TINCUP) could be jeopardized since it is stricter than state law and noted that the FPPC can only handle civil matters as opposed to criminal ones.
The Board has 90 days to respond to the latest report.
Read the full report here.