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Ban on Free Tickets to Events for L.A. Politicians Recommended by Ethics Commission

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Remember "ticketgate" from back in June? Since taking office in 2005, it was found that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had accepted free tickets to some 80 events, including high profile ones such as the Oscars or Lakers games with courtside seats. The estimated value of all the freebies, as determined by LA Weekly, was $100,000.

It irked people because a gift from a company seeking business with the city could influence a politician's decision making process. Villaraigosa said he was invited to those events to perform a ceremonial duty, such as handing out a city proclamation or certificate of appreciation.

After the news of the free tickets made waves in the media and investigations from the District Attorney and a state commission, the today city's very own Ethics Commission, which also looked into the matter, approved a proposed ordinance that would ban elected officials from accepting free tickets from companies which have pending business with the city, according to the LA Times.

Under that law, officials could show up for ceremonial duties, but have to leave afterwards or pay for a ticket.

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The ban must be voted upon twice before it is considered and voted on by the elected officials themselves: the Los Angeles City Council.

There was one sole vote cast against the ban. “It’s as if we believe everybody’s corrupt, and I just don’t think everybody’s corrupt and everybody’s subject to undue influence,” Ethics Commissioner Nedra Jenkins told the Times.

The commission also voted on a recommended ordinance that would require the source of the tickets be disclosed and kept on record for at least four years, noted the Weekly.