Lobbyist Firm’s Illegal Gifts Prompt OCTA to Debate Its Contract

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In the wake of a record fine against their state lobbying firm, board members at the Orange County Transportation Authority Monday morning are set to discuss their future with the firm.

Kevin Sloat of Sloat, Higgins, Jensen & Associates was recently fined $133,500 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for giving illegal gifts and campaign contributions to state lawmakers.

At a 9 a.m. meeting today, OCTA’s executive committee is set to take up the issue. Click here for the staff report.

OCTA board director and county Supervisor Todd Spitzer told Voice of OC that he’s “very upset” about the lobbyist’s conduct.

“Could you imagine if we put out bids for lobbyists, and we put out the question, ‘Hey, could you make sure to entertain legislators with whiskeys and cigars but make sure you don’t declare it?” Spitzer said. “It puts OCTA in a very uncomfortable position.”

OCTA staff, meanwhile, isn’t calling for Sloat’s contract to be canceled before its Nov. 30 expiration.

Instead they want board approval to start conducting a competitive bid for Sloat’s replacement when next year’s legislative session starts.

OCTA could require bidders to disclose any “past enforcement or pending actions by the FPPC,” according to a staff report.

Sloat’s firm has held OCTA’s lobbying contract since 2002.

Curious what else is happening this week? Click here to check out our rundown at On the Agenda.

Please contact Nick Gerda directly at ngerda@gmail.com  and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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