Former L.A. County AIDS Office Director Violated State Law by Fundraising for Mayoral Candidate, Health Dept. Report Says
Former Los Angeles County Office of AIDS Programs and Policy Director Charles Henry violated state law and "created the appearance or concern of bias" by soliciting contributions from county employees and contractors for then-mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa (D), who has since been elected mayor, according to a confidential May 9 report by county Department of Health Services auditors that was obtained by the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, the Times reports. Henry violated a state law that prohibits local government employees from asking colleagues for campaign money when he solicited funds from five county employees and officials who worked for at least five HIV/AIDS treatment organizations that were eligible to receive funds from his office, the report says. He also "exercised poor judgment" by continuing his fundraising efforts after a supervisor expressed concern about a possible conflict of interest, according to the report. The report recommends that Henry and two other AIDS office employees -- who the report claims lied during the investigation -- be disciplined (Leonard, Los Angeles Times, 6/9). Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich on Thursday asked prosecutors to review the allegations that Henry violated state law (Los Angeles Times, 6/10). Henry's attorney said Henry did not ask county employees for contributions and his fundraising efforts were legal (Los Angeles Times, 6/9). Last month, Henry was removed from his position as director of the program, which distributes $82.5 million annually in government funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs, but he remains a county employee (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.