The state Fair Political Practices Commission has opened an investigation into whether members of the California High Speed Rail Authority board improperly received trips to Europe.

As the Los Angeles Times first reported, five officials took European trips last year sponsored by agencies of foreign governments. Because the trips were donated to the rail agency, not individuals, most board members did not have to report them on their annual disclosures of gifts, income and personal investment.

But the Times story said the High Speed Rail Authority failed to keep records of how much was paid for the trips and who paid.

Some board members, including Chairman Curt Pringle, did report the trips — in Pringle’s case, because he is mayor of Anaheim and under different rules. But Pringle still is part of the investigation. The Oct. 29 letters to those involved are posted in the investigations section of the watchdog agency’s website.

The letter to Pringle from the FPPC Executive Director didn’t go into detail, but said:

The Fair Political Practices Commission has initiated an investigation of allegations that as a member of the California High Speed Rail Authority, you violated the Political Reform Act’s limitation on the receipt of gifts provisions. At this time, we have not made
any determination about the allegation(s).

We are simply providing you with this information as a courtesy and may be contacting you again to discuss this matter. Should you have any comments on the allegation(s), your comments must be submitted in writing.


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