If you have run for office in California or been a senior-level government staffer, you have probably filled out a Fair Political Practices Commission Form 700 – Statement of Economic Interests.
So what could make a Statement of Economic Interests interesting? If it’s billionaire developer and L.A. City mayoral candidate Rick Caruso’s SEI – it is a great read. To start with, it is 97 pages long. Most SEI’s are a page or two because most people do not have tons of wealth to declare.
Let’s start with the less interesting information – Caruso owns a lot of different stocks, each worth over $1 million. He has some cryptocurrency and lists some hedge funds, and bonds, and is apparently a Pepsi drinker, not Coke. There are lots of properties listed – almost all for over $1 million. Note that the forms don’t ask if anything is worth more than a million dollars. The FPPC may have to amend the form to accommodate future billionaire candidates.
There are some gifts listed. Frankly, the types of gifts are insignificant and not expensive. Peekers don’t hang out with many billionaires, but we would have expected the gifts to be more extravagant. There are a lot of books, some wine, a scarf, and two jackets, among other items… Our favorite item is a “Pepperdine Cutting Board” from the Caruso School of Law with a $50 value. Apparently, it is hard to know what to buy a billionaire.
We have saved the best for last – the last 63 pages: Attachment 1 to Schedule A-2, Investment, income, and assets of business entities/trusts – reportable sources of income. It is a long list of individuals’ names and names of businesses. Approximately 2,835 people or businesses located in the City of Los Angeles pay Caruso $10,000 or more (we assume per year, but the form is unclear). That is at least $28 million dollars a year just from the City of Angels. Calpeek would be thrilled to know even a few people who would pay us $10,000 per year.
For a bit of comparison, Caruso’s leading opponent is Congresswoman Karen Bass. Her SEI is 1 page and so very not interesting.