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February 26, 2015

Political-Nonprofit Link Puts Heat on L.A. Council Hopeful

A Los Angeles City Council candidate who heads a charity has run it out of the same office as his campaign, a situation nonprofit experts say could raise legal issues, writes the Los Angeles Times. Tomas O'Grady's home served until recently as headquarters for both his political effort and EnrichLA, a nonprofit that builds school gardens, and two former interns with the charity filed a complaint with the city Ethics Commission last year alleging they were assigned campaign tasks.

Mr. O'Grady denied blurring the lines between his political and charitable operations, saying he ran both out of his house to save money but they used separate facilities. Following inquiries from the Times, he said EnrichLA was moving to donated space at a school. The charity and the campaign do have some workers and volunteers in common, according to city filings, a practice Ryan Oberly, a lawyer whose Chicago firm advises nonprofits, said can be "fraught with risk." Federal law requires charities to steer clear of helping candidates for office.