Matthew Suárez 11 a.m., May 27
Ban on Lobbyist Gifts to Lawmakers Dies in Kehoe-led Appropriations Committee
A bill proposed by state Sen. Sam Blakeslee, Republican of San Luis Obispo, to ban personal gifts made by lobbyists and their clients to state legislators died a not-so-quiet death yesterday in the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by San Diego Democrat Christine Kehoe.
Prohibited gifts would have included tickets to theme parks, sporting events, theaters, concerts, and racetracks; "spa treatments and other services of a personal nature"; golf, skiing, or fishing trips and other recreational outings or vacations; and gift cards.
The Blakeslee bill had already cleared one Senate committee without dissent. But because the ban would have cost an estimated $204,000 to enforce and administer, it was sent to the Appropriations committee, where it was put in the so-called suspense file.
No member asked that it be brought up for a vote, effectively killing it.
"The score is lobbyists 1, public 0," Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, told the Los Angeles Times.
"Once again, the Legislature failed to act on good-government reforms to improve the culture and transparency in the Capitol," Blakeslee was quoted as saying. "Instead, Sacramento yet again killed reform bills behind closed doors."
As the Times noted: “Elected state officials accepted $637,000 in gifts last year, including tickets from AT&T to a Lakers game, a San Francisco Giants World Series game and golf at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, according to disclosures that lawmakers are required to file with the state.”
“You'd think a Legislature with a single-digit approval rating," Ex-Fair Political Practices Commission chairman Dan Schnur said to the Times, "would be more conscious of the low regard in which the voting public holds them."
As we’ve reported over the years, Kehoe and her colleagues in the local legislative delegation have accepted thousands of dollars worth of gifts from a wide array of special interests. Here are a few links:
More like this:
- San Diegan’s Maui blowout takes on the Bee — Nov. 19, 2015
- A special-interest blowout reformers love to hate — Nov. 13, 2014
- Assembly Committee Vice-Chaired by Diane Harkey Shelves Bill to Ban Special Interest Gifts to Legislators — Aug. 17, 2012
- Kehoe Bill on Conflict of Interest Oversight Signed Into Law — Sept. 7, 2011
- Harry Reid Bashes Georgiou; San Diego Delegation Raises Cash — June 22, 2011