Looks like Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has pretty much ruined this free-ticket racket for everyone.

District Attorney Steve Cooley, who is investigating Villaraigosa's ticket scandal, is taking fire from his opponent in the attorney general's race for accepting his own free tickets.

Over the last eight years, Cooley has taken $1,600 in free Lakers tickets, plus $2,200 in tickets and travel expenses to USC football games, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Cooley has also accepted wine, whiskey, tequila, scotch, cigars and cologne.

The spokeswoman for San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, Cooley's Democratic opponent for attorney general, notes that some of those gifts came from judges and business leaders, which raises the appearance of a conflict of interest.

“Cooley has made his pursuit of public corruption cases one of the cornerstones of his campaign for attorney general, yet his own record is one of questionable ethics,” [campaign spokeswoman Deb] Mesloh said. “People want as top cop someone who follows both the letter and spirit of the law, and I think the record demonstrates that he has not done that.”

Cooley's spokesman argues that Cooley's integrity is “beyond question,” and that the gifts came from close personal friends.

What makes this different from Villaraigosa's situation is that all of these tickets and gifts were reported. They are also within the legal gift limits, so there's nothing illegal going on here.

Still, as Villaraigosa could testify, it's an issue that can have traction with voters.

LA Weekly