FPPC Clears High-Speed Rail Officials on Travel to Europe

Former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle and three other members of the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority didn’t violate state disclosure laws with a series of donated trips to Europe, the state Fair Political Practices Commission has ruled.

Pringle and board members Tom Umberg, Lynn Schenk and Quentin Kopp, as well as former rail authority chief executive Medhi Morshed, received letters from the FPPC that said no violations were found, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Pringle, who is chairman of the nine-member rail board, reported the trips on his mandatory state conflict of interest statements.

But because the trips were donated to the rail agency, not individuals, most other board members did not have to report them on their annual disclosures of gifts, income and personal investment.

From the Times story:

[Rail Authority CEO Roelof van Ark] acknowledges lapses in past travel recordkeeping and said the problem has been corrected. Officials also said they would attempt to reconstruct reports on travel in recent years. The status of that effort was not clear Thursday.

Spokeswoman Rachel Wall said in a statement that the “FPPC looked at how the Authority handled travel payment in the past and how these particular trips were handled and found that there were no violations of the law. Nonetheless, the Authority is undergoing a review of its policies and actively looking at ways to increase the transparency of travel by its board members.”