When you lobby for a living, it appears you may forget when you're doing it -- or even filling out paperwork claiming that's what you've been doing.
Or maybe that's just Alex Tourk. The proprietor of Ground Floor Public Affairs appears to have blithely broken city laws regarding lobbying one's government clients on behalf of other clients. Tourk dutifully reported to the Ethics Commission that he lobbied City Attorney Dennis Herrera and District Attorney George Gascón. He's running both men's electoral campaigns.
Herrera has turned over the investigation of the matter to his Oakland counterparts. SF Weekly queried DA spokesman Seth Steward whether Gascón would recuse himself from a potential prosecution of Tourk. We haven't yet heard back.
It's a violation of the city's campaign and governmental conduct codes for a registered lobbyist to "communicate with any officer of the City and County who is a current or former client of the
campaign consultant on behalf of another person or entity." Tourk told the Chronicle that he was unaware of this law. Later, however, he told the paper that what he did wasn't lobbying -- even though he'd gone to the trouble of completing a lobbying report.
It would seem Tourk is on the wrong end of the law either way.
If Tourk was lobbying -- as he submitted paperwork claiming he was -- then he violated section 2.117 of the campaign and governmental code. And if he wasn't lobbying, he signed off on an erroneous report -- a report that is filed under penalty of perjury.
Tourk has not yet returned our call.
The penalty for illegal lobbying can be fines of up to $5,000 a pop. The penalty for perjury -- well, that'd be serious.
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