Quarterly lobbying reports are in, and they reveal the usual lineup by state legislators and their staffs for gifts parceled out by a variety of special interests. During the quarter, Sempra Energy spent a total of $16,423 on so-called lobbying activity expenses. The utility giant paid for Democratic assemblyman Felipe Fuentes’s $112 meal at Zeffirino in Las Vegas prior to a “solar facility tour.” Gerard Loaiza, a field representative for Republican senator Roy Ashburn, got an $85 admission to a “Gas Company Public Appreciation Dinner” held at the Visalia Convention Center on February 10. That was less than a month before Ashburn was busted by Sacramento police for drunk driving near a gay nightclub where he had been spotted. An evangelical Christian and outspoken homosexual-rights opponent, Ashburn subsequently came out of the closet and acknowledged he was gay.
On March 22, Joe Patterson, legislative director for GOP assemblyman Martin Garrick, got a $165 ticket to a Kings basketball game at Arco Arena in Sacramento, thanks to AT&T. Patrick Bouteller, a legislative aide to Republican assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, went to a Kings game on February 16, courtesy of a $169 ticket from AT&T. Erica Costa, an aide to Democratic assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, saw the Kings on March 10 with a $154 admission provided by the communications giant.
On February 25, the Barona Indian band picked up a $124 meal tab at its casino’s Barona Steakhouse for Republican state senator Dennis Hollingsworth. Ex–San Diego city councilwoman Toni Atkins, running for assembly, got a meal worth $39 on March 22; Assembly Speaker John Pérez’s $34 tab was comped by Barona on January 22.