The state agency charged with ethics enforcement has launched an investigation into whether California High-Speed Rail Authority board members have failed to properly document their trips abroad -- trips that were paid for by foreign governments.
The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has informed board Chair Curt Pringle, former Executive Director Mehdi Morshed and board members Quentin Kopp and Lynn Schenk that they are now subjects of the probe. The investigation was launched after the Los Angeles Times revealed that board members took trips to Europe without properly disclosing these trips on their annual reports on gifts.
The commission sent letters to the board members and to Morshed on Oct. 29 saying that it has "initiated an investigation that as a member of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, you violated the Political Reform Act's limitation on the receipt of gifts provisions."
"At this time, we have not made any determination about the allegation(s)," the letter states. "We are simply providing you with this information as a courtesy and may be contacting you again to discuss this matter."
Roelof van Ark, who was hired as the authority's CEO in May, said in a statement after the Los Angeles Times story came out that he has requested a system-wide review of the authority's policies and procedures.
"In the course of that review, some lapses in our record-keeping were discovered," van Ark said. "They have since been corrected."
He also said the authority has "already provided all required documentation for the most recent international trip undertaken by Authority personnel."