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Anaheim City Council shrugs in face of FBI finance probe

After the FBI leveled corruption allegations against former Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, his closest allies threw him under the bus. “I and my City Council colleagues now must seek to … uphold the public trust and continue with the business of the city of Anaheim,” said Councilman Trevor O’Neil in a letter calling for Sidhu to resign.

Yet Sidhu’s allies’ concern about the public trust seemed short lived. At the City Council meeting July 12, O’Neil and council members Gloria Ma’ae and Jose Diaz rejected a modest campaign-finance restriction designed to change the City Council culture.

The proposed ordinance would have required the mayor and council members to “recuse themselves from any action taken by the city that would impact a third party who contributed more than $250 to that member’s election campaign within the preceding 12 months.”

That sounds significant, but includes a loophole for independent expenditures. We’re not big fans of campaign-finance restrictions given the bizarre workarounds they create, but the “no” voters came across as defenders of a crony capitalist status quo that is crumbling before their eyes.

A federal affidavit filed in May alleges Sidhu “shared privileged and confidential information with the Angels during stadium sale negotiations, actively concealed same from a Grand Jury inquiry, and expects to receive campaign contributions as a result.” Sidhu denies any wrongdoing.

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