LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey is under scrutiny following a report detailing $10,000 in gifts she has allegedly received in her four years as the county’s chief prosecutor.
The gifts included sporting event tickets, clothing and even a glass rose dipped in 24-carat gold, according to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times. The gifts came from “criminal defense attorneys, police unions, business owners, prosecutors in her office,” according to The Times.
Their value exceeded gifts accepted by district attorneys in Orange County, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino, The Times said.
California law allows officials to accept gifts from individuals valued to be worth as much as $460 in a calendar year. Lacey told The Times all of her gifts have complied with the law.
“I have complied with the law and will continue to comply with the law,” Lacey said in the statement to the newspaper.
Still, experts on ethics and the law questioned if the gifts could give the impression of a conflict of interest.
“Public officials are supposed to be disinterested, but prosecutors in particular are supposed to be disinterested,” Bruce Green, director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham Law School, told the Times. “They have extraordinary power to destroy people’s lives. And you want them to act in a disinterested way, not with an eye toward profiting.”
Lacey is by no means the first Los Angeles official to accept thousands of dollars in gifts.
Her predecessor Steve Cooley also accepted gifts including sporting event tickets, wine and bottles of liquor during his tenure as LA County district attorney. The gifts — some of which were later found to have not been disclosed — dogged his failed 2010 campaign for California attorney general.