How close is too close when lobbying?

Supervisor Don Knabe

How about father and son? That’s the question being asked by good government observers about Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe and his son, who used to work as his father’s deputy in District 4 and is now a well-connected lobbyist. There’s nothing illegal about lobbying someone who shares your last name, but when there is taxpayer money being dealt to companies with family ties, questions arise.

Meet Matt Knabe. He is a partner with Englander Knabe & Allen where he focuses on “political consulting, campaign management, public affairs, government relations and issues and communications strategy.,” according to his firm’s website. His strengths “are working issues from beginning to end with great relationships at Los Angeles County.” And that includes on winning lucrative contracts for his clients looking for business before his father and the four other supervisors. That’s according to SoCal Connected in an investigative report that airs tonight on KCET.

So are the Knabes crossing the ethical line? SoCal Connected points to the county’s money-making golf course operations and a suspicious sole bid contract for rental cars that Matt Knabe was a point person on. Warren will talk to KCET’s Vince Gonzales all about his reporting on tonight’s “Which Way LA?”