The wife of California’s attorney general will lead the Department of Justice’s oversight
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The wife of California Attorney General Rob Bonta will chair a legislative subcommittee that oversees his budget.
This is reported by KCRA Assemblywoman Mia Bonta, a Democrat, will chair the 5th Assembly Budget Subcommittee, which oversees public safety spending. This includes the California Department of Justice, which is headed by Rob Bonta.
University of the Pacific law professor Mary-Beth Moylan said it is not illegal for Bonta to chair the subcommittee that oversees her husband’s budget. But Bob Stern, former general counsel for the California Fair Political Practices Commission, said “it should raise some eyebrows.”
“What is happening to them? I think they have tin ears about ethics,” Stern told the station.
Democratic Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon appointed Mia Bonto to the post. Rendon said the Legislature’s budget process was “designed with checks and balances in place to ensure the best possible budget is passed.” He noted that the Assembly and Senate must agree on the budget, which must then be either signed or vetoed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. He also said the Legislature does not set salaries or benefits for state constitutional officials like Rob Bonta.
“No elected official can ever personally or financially benefit from our budget process,” Rendon said, adding that he believes Mia Bonta “will continue to be independent and unbiased in her legislative opinions.”
Mia Bonta told KCRA that she was honored to chair the committee and said she did not have the authority to make budget allocation decisions. She said public safety and reducing recidivism were her priorities in the Legislature.
“The suggestion of a conflict of interest shows a misunderstanding of the legislative process. I am focused on continuing to fight for safe communities with the impartiality and unwavering commitment that my constituents have come to expect, and I look forward to taking on this work with my colleagues in the Assembly, state Senate and the Governor’s administration,” said Bonta.
The budget subcommittee plans to discuss the budget of the Ministry of Justice on March 27.
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