District Attorney’s Office Investigating Possible Straw Donors in L.A. County Sheriff’s Race

The race for L.A. County Sheriff still remains too close to call. But the District Attorney’s Office has confirmed that its public integrity unit is investigating alleged straw donor contributions to the campaign for candidate Alex Villanueva.

“The complaint pertains to a donor, not Villanueva,” DA spokesman Greg Risling said in a statement. “When our office receives a complaint, our prosecutors review the allegation to determine whether the allegation, if true, would constitute a crime and whether there is evidence to support it. If these conditions are met, our office will investigate.”

The office would not provide details on the alleged straw donors or the identity of the individual(s) who filed the complaint. McDonnell’s campaign is aware of the suspicious donations and has discussed filing a complaint with both the DA and Fair Political Practices Commission, however, his campaign says it has not done so.

Villanueva, for his part, says he’s confident all donations to his campaign were legal. He questioned whether the office of DA Jackie Lacey, who supported McDonnell’s re-election, should be handling the matter. The FPPC was also asked whether it had an open investigation. It declined to say.

The Los Angeles Times spoke to employees of a company believed to be at the center of the probe, though the DA’s office would not confirm this. When asked if he had been reimbursed for his donation to the sheriff’s candidate, one worker told the Times, “I don’t think I can answer that question. That’s personal.”