Nuñez damned with faint praise

This morning's L.A. Times editorial agrees with the state Fair Political Practices Commission that ex-Speaker Fabian Nuñez did not break the law in his travels and schemings with donor funds, then observes, "But not being a crook is a fairly low standard."

Two years ago, we were appalled by news reports about the tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations that he spent on luxury hotels, fine wines and pricey gifts -- such as the $5,149 he spent on a "meeting" at a wine cellar in the Bordeaux region of France and the $2,562 he spent on "office expenses" at Louis Vuitton in Paris. We were equally unhappy with his practice of steering money from donors to a charity that spent the largesse to boost his political profile....

At best, Nuñez forgot that he was wining and dining in France, Italy and Spain only because voters in his home district put him in a position of power and because other Assembly Democrats made him their leader -- and because special interests were willing to pay lots of money for access to someone with such clout. The fact that he's not a crook doesn't stop reasonable people from questioning whether he was really working for the voters who put him in office or instead for the donors who spared him the humiliation of flying coach.

It goes on.

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