Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blue State Graft Watch: California Lawmakers Fail To Report Gifts From Lobbyists

Some 38 active members of California's state Assembly and Senate had failed to declare gifts paid for by AT&T, Chevron, Pechanga Casino, Boeing, the California Associaton of Health and Life Insurance Companies and others.

The gifts included a weekend at a luxury spa in Pebble Beach, free passes to Sea World and Disneyland, tickets to Keith Urban, George Strait or Billy Joel concerts, lunches at upscale resturants in Sacramento and tickets to a Sacramento Kings home game or the 2008 Holiday Bowl.

To be fair, the California state Fair Political Practices Comission names politicians from both parties, but it seems the more extravagant gifts went to those who chaired regulatory committees like the state Senate Financae, Banking and Insurance Committee- or their families.

Democratic state Sen. Ron Calderon of Montebello appeared to have failed to report more than $2,300 worth of gifts for himself and his wife, Ana, including an October 2008 stay at Pebble Beach Resorts, known for its stunning oceanfront view and world-class golf course.

The Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies reported that Ana Calderon received $1,000 in food, drinks and spa treatments, and the commission questioned whether the senator should have disclosed the gifts.

Calderon is chairman of the Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee, which oversees the industry.

According to the California Fair Political Practices Comission, failure to disclose such gifts comes with a $5000 fine for each violation.

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