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L.A.'s D.A. Accepted More Than $10,000 Worth Of Questionable Gifts

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Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey (Photo courtesy of the Office of the District Attorney)
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Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey appears to have some generous friends— the county's top prosecutor accepted more than $10,000 worth of gifts over the past four years, reports the L.A. Times. Unfortunately for Lacey, nothing in life is free, and those sports tickets, booze, and lovely baubles come with a hefty catch, namely ethical questions and a shadow of impropriety over one of L.A.'s top law enforcement officials. It doesn't help that the gifts were from "criminal defense attorneys, police unions, business owners, prosecutors in her office and others who could have an interest in influencing her decisions," according to the Times, who examined state records.

The Times' investigation found that Lacey's gift acceptances exceeded those of California's other top district attorneys. According to the California Fair Political Practices Commission, public officials in California are prohibited from accepting a gift or gifts totaling more than $460 in a calendar year from a single source, and they must publicly disclose all the gifts that they receive. Lacey provided disclosures for all gifts received, so it doesn't appear that she has done anything illegal, but the volume of gifts certainly raises the specter of potential conflict of interest situations.

“I am a strong proponent of transparency in government,” District Attorney Lacey said in a statement to LAist. “I have complied with the law and will continue to comply with the law.” Lacey entered office on December 3, 2012, and she is running unopposed for a second term in November. Her predecessor, former District Attorney Steve Cooley, was also criticized for accepting gifts from prominent Angelenos during his tenure as district attorney.