District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is investigating Supervisor Todd Spitzer, his chief rival in next year’s election, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The two Republican office holders have been at each other for years. Spitzer once was considered Rackauckas’ heir apparent until the two had a falling out in 2010 and Rackauckas fired Spitzer from his position in the DA’s office.

According to the Times, Rackauckas, working with the state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), is looking into Spitzer’s campaign fundraising and spending as well as allegations from a former legal client that she couldn’t pay her legal bills so Spitzer put her on his campaign and county payrolls and she used $7,000 of that money to repay him in cash.

Neither Rackauckas nor Spitzer agreed to be interviewed by the Times, but the newspaper said it got confirmation of the investigation from three individuals who were interviewed by investigators, including the former legal client turned staffer, Christine Richters.

The DA’s investigation of his political rival raises serious ethical issues, Bruce Green, director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham University, told the Times.

“The opposing candidate, if he ever were indicted, would have a pretty good argument that the prosecutor’s office has an impermissible conflict of interest,” Green said. “The prosecutor should be concerned and the public should be concerned.”

You can contact Tracy Wood at twood@voiceofoc.org and follow her on Twitter: @TracyVOC

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