State Sen. Kevin de León may have acted unethically last year, calling an organization whose proposal he was guiding through legislative committees and asking if his daughter could apply for a job there.
Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for the Greenlining Institute, acknowledged to the Los Angeles Times that de León had called his organization, but neither Mirken nor de León would say who answered the call or when the call was made. Greenlining identifies itself as working to “advance economic opportunity and empowerment for people of color.”
De León’s daughter, Lluvia Carrasco, 21, allegedly made $4,750 from Greenlining in the ten week-period she worked as a contractor, which ended August 29 of last year, according to the Times.
De León introduced Greenlining’s bill, SB 1275, called the Charge Ahead California Initiative. It was also supported by Environment California, Communities for a Better Environment, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Coalition for Clean Air, in February 2014; it was passed by the legislature and approved by Governor Jerry Brown.
De León issued a statement defending himself, which read:
Last year, I asked a Greenlining representative if they were still accepting summer internship applications. That’s it. My day job doesn’t preclude me from being a father to my daughter and providing advice to her. But anything she’s accomplished professionally in her fledgling career, she’s accomplished on her own. Any suggestion otherwise insults her hard work and is profoundly disrespectful. Implying a connection between my long legislative record and her recent summer internship is patently false.
Mirken claimed that his organization hired Carrasco without any feeling of being pressured, adding that she never lobbied for the company’s bill. He told the Los Angeles Times, “Well before she applied, the senator asked if his daughter could apply for a job here. We said, ‘Yes, of course,’ as we’d say to anyone. That was it.”
Jessica Levinson, vice president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, felt that de León’s actions smacked of an ethical violation, telling the Times, “Parents pick up the phone for their kids all the time. But they are not leaders of the Senate who are carrying sponsored bills.”