Assemblywoman Mia Bonta's new role raising ethical questions

Questions about ethics are being raised about the new role for California Attorney General Rob Bonta's wife.

State Assemblywoman Mia Bonta is about to become the chairwoman  of a committee that manages the budget of his office.

Mia Bonta will lead a subcommittee that oversees the funding for public safety that includes the California Department of Justice.

State assembly speaker Anthony Rendon picked Mia Bonta for that powerful position, saying there will be many people will review the budget process, and, he's confident she will not be biased. 

Mia  Bonta told KCRA 3 in a statement she was honored when the Speaker picked her to lead the committee and noted she does not have any unilateral authority to make budget allocation decisions.

"My district is home to the city of Oakland, where gun violence disproportionately ravages communities of color. I have made promoting public safety and reducing recidivism legislative priorities of mine, as these issues are critically important to my constituents," she wrote. "The suggestion of a conflict of interest shows a lack of understanding about the legislative process. My focus is on continuing to fight for safe communities with an unbiased lens and unwavering commitment my constituents expect, and I look forward to taking on this work with my colleagues in the Assembly, State Senate, and Governor's administration." 

But Bob Stern, the former general counsel of the Fair Political Practices Commission, told KCRA that it may be legal, but there could also be a perceived conflict of interest.

"They're not violating any laws, I want to make it really clear, none of this is illegal," Stern said. "But it seems to me they have a tin ear about ethics. Particularly as attorney general, he should have the highest ethical standards of any government official, they should be setting an example for everybody else."