Karen Bass, the mayor of Los Angeles, recently turned down a swag bag from Skims, a shapewear and clothing company founded by Kim Kardashian. The bag, worth $600, included various items, such as liquor, hot sauce, and makeup, along with Skims products. However, Bass declined this gift, as well as several others, including a $97 necklace from Maya Brenner and jerseys from Los Angeles FC. According to the city’s ethics commission, elected officials are required to report gifts valued at $50 or more, and gifts are limited to $590 per entity or person each year.
Bass’s decision to decline the gift from Skims is in line with her commitment to ethical standards and transparency. After defeating developer Rick Caruso in the race for mayor last year, Bass became the first Black woman to lead the second-largest city in the United States. Before mayor, she served as the U.S. representative for California’s 37th congressional district from 2013 to 2022.
As for Kim Kardashian, Skims has become one of her most successful brands, with a value of more than $3.2 billion, according to Forbes. The brand has expanded from shapewear to loungewear and sleepwear, appealing to a wide range of customers. However, Bass’s decision to decline the gift from Skims highlights the potential ethical concerns surrounding gift-giving in politics.
Gift-giving has long been a part of politics, but it has raised questions about the influence of wealthy donors and special interests. Critics argue that such gifts could create conflicts of interest and influence policy decisions, especially if the gifts come from individuals or organizations with a stake in government decisions. Supporters, however, argue that gifts are a way to build relationships and show appreciation for elected officials’ work.
To address these concerns, many states, including California, have established limits on gifts that elected officials can receive. In California, gifts valued at $50 or more must be reported, and gifts are limited to $590 per entity or person each year. Elected officials are required to disclose all gifts they receive in annual financial disclosure reports, allowing the public to scrutinize these gifts and their potential impact on policy.
Bass’s decision to decline the gift from Skims is a small but important step in maintaining ethical standards in politics. By refusing gifts that exceed the limits established by the city’s ethics commission, Bass is promoting transparency and accountability in government. While gift-giving may still be a controversial issue in politics, Bass’s actions demonstrate that ethical standards must remain a priority for elected officials.
In conclusion, Karen Bass’s decision to decline the Skims swag bag is a testament to her commitment to ethical standards and transparency in politics. By refusing gifts that exceed the limits established by the city’s ethics commission, Bass is setting an example for elected officials on the importance of maintaining ethical standards in government. While gift-giving may still be a contentious issue in politics, Bass’s actions demonstrate that elected officials must remain vigilant in promoting transparency and accountability in government.