Cali Council Kiboshes Free Tix

A California ethics council has voted to limit the number of free tickets that municipal officials can receive to sporting events and concerts.

The Fair Political Practices Commission decision follows a series of reports that uncovered thousands of dollars in free tickets granted to some local government officials.

Over the past two years, members of the Orange County Fair Board received about $376,000 in free tickets to shows at the Pacific Amphitheatre, according to the Orange County Register. Similarly, council members in Anaheim reportedly received hundreds of tickets to Anaheim Angels baseball games and Ducks hockey games.

The new rule requires officials to classify their free tickets either as gifts, which can only amount to $420 per year, or as taxable income.

Exceptions include when a ticket or pass is given to an official to play a ceremonial role at an event or when an agency (such as the fair board) controls an event and hands out tickets to officials who’ll play a governmental or public role at the event.

The rule also requires that agencies post the numbers of free tickets distributed to officials on their respective Web sites as a matter of public record.

“The public has the right to know what its money is being spent on,” Roman Porter, executive director of the commission, told the OC Register.