California state legislators have a lot of ways to raise and spend special-interest cash for their own relaxation and enjoyment. Take the example of Republican state senator Mark Wyland and his 2010 “officeholders account.” It’s all on the up-and-up, a strictly legal way for big corporate donors to filter cash into a fund for Wyland’s personal use, as long as a few rules are obeyed.
For instance, it’s entirely okay for Wyland to have successfully solicited an even total of $17,000 during the first half of the year from a not-so-shabby assortment of special interest, including the California Defense Counsel PAC ($2000); AT&T ($1500); California Association of Highway Patrolmen PAC ($1500); Disney Worldwide Services ($1000); Verizon ($2500); and the California-Nevada Soft Drink Association PAC ($1000).
And there’s nothing at all wrong with using a portion of the cash to throw a few free-lunch bashes for staff, including $157 at the Park in Sacramento, or spending $1351 on an L.A. “manufacturing summit,” or laying out $102 for an overnight stay during the Morongo Casino’s Western Indian Gaming Conference in February; $514 for two staffers to stay for free during the state GOP convention in March is all right as well. And, of course, a quick shopping spree at the Apple Store ($1455) is always fun, and apparently quite necessary for an elected official to do his duty.