The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has informed TheLiberalOC is investigating Irvine Council member Christina Shea.
A February 5, 2016 letter to us states:
“…The Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission will investigate the allegation(s), under the jurisdiction of the Commission, of the sworn compliant you submitted in the above-referenced matter. You will next received notification from us upon final disposition of the case.”
The Commission says they have made no determination about the claims of the complaint we made in early January. The earlier letter informed us the FPPC was adding our complaint to an open investigation against Shea. The letter received Monday simply confirms Shea is the subject of an active investigation by the Commission.
It’s increasingly looking like Shea violated state law by representing a client in government relations, KIA Motors, and making staff say “how high?” when she said “jump” for requests made by her client. Shea claims she was providing constituent services.
The LiberalOC’s complaint against Shea alleges conflict of interest. The Voice of OC inspired the complaint with a story they ran in late December.
From that story: “…a good government expert said even if the communications weren’t illegal, they were unethical, and that Shea should “either work for KIA, or work for the city, but she really shouldn’t be doing both.”
“How does it look? It doesn’t look good,” said Bob Stern, co-author of the 1974 Political Reform Act.
The state’s Political Reform Act makes it an illegal conflict of interest for public officials to try and influence decisions at their public agencies. But according to Stern, it’s possible that the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, which enforces violations with fines, won’t go after Shea because the decisions on things like permits don’t rise to a significant monetary value for KIA.
“The question is how much is she being paid, and how much is the decision worth?” Stern said.