“When those at the top take care of their own, we pay the price”: Bass releases ad targeting Caruso for USC admissions scandal

U.S. Representative and L.A. mayoral candidate Karen Bass confronts her opponent, Rick Caruso, in a USC-focused video.

Karen Bass at the mayoral debate.

After a heated mayoral debate last week, Karen Bass posted an ad on Twitter Thursday targeting her opponent Rick Caruso over USC’s 2019 admissions scandal.

Entitled “Billionaire Rick Caruso’s USC Scandals Part II,” the video explains that for more than a decade while Caruso was the chair of the Board of Trustees, “rich and famous” parents funded bribes to USC officials to get their children accepted.

Bass’ post characterized the bribes as, “a criminal conspiracy to push their privileged children to the front of the line.”

The ad highlights that when the scandal broke, one of the falsely-admitted students was partying on Caruso’s yacht. Olivia Jade Giannulli, daughter of “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin, was vacationing with Caruso’s daughter in the Bahamas when federal prosecutors charged 50 people involved in a nationwide admissions scandal with fraud, including Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli.

“Rick Caruso has a lot of questions to answer,” said Bass in a caption on the video. “His record shows that Angelenos cannot trust him to be on our side.”

Bass’ post came after her Sept. 7 ad accusing Caruso of covering up former USC gynecologist George Tyndall’s widespread sexual abuse of students. The ad alleged Caruso “failed to protect women” during the “ugliest chapter in the school’s history.”

During the most recent mayoral debate on Sept. 21, both candidates were asked about their roles in USC scandals. Bass is currently involved in a federal fraud case concerning Marilyn Flynn, the former dean of USC’s Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.

Annenberg Media previously reported that Bass was offered a full-ride scholarship to obtain her master’s in social work from former Dean Marilyn Flynn, allegedly in exchange for policy changes in favor of USC. Flynn agreed to plead guilty in an ongoing bribery case after admitting that she worked to pay L.A. county supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas $100,000 in exchange for a USC contract with the county.

Caruso accused Bass of accepting the scholarship without properly reporting it to Congress, saying that she earned her degree with fewer credits than her peers and then crafted legislation that sent more federal funding to USC Dworak-Peck.

This piece was edited to correctly define Bass’ involvement with the federal fraud case, as well as the name of George Tyndall. Annenberg Media regrets this error.