Ed Bedford 11:44 p.m., June 19
San Diego legislators got plenty of free travel, lodging, and food in 2012
Koch brothers-backed ALEC picks up tab for GOP's Anderson; Democrat Atkins books trip to Russia, thanks to Moscow's Duma
Some fine times on the road were no doubt had last year by the members of San Diego's state legislative delegation, judging from their personal financial disclosure reports just posted online by California's Fair Political Practices Commission.
Perhaps not surprisingly, sources of the largesse appeared in most cases to target their gifts to match the political leanings of the recipients, though that wasn't always true, based on the reports.
The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC for short, came up with $1786 in "reimbursement for air fare, transportation, and meals" for Republican state Sen. Joel Anderson to attend the group's annual meeting on September 7. ALEC also gave Anderson a total of $692 to attend two other of its meetings earlier in the year.
On the other side of the political spectrum, the Environmental Defense Fund forked over $513.43 for Anderson's "airfare to Chiapas Mexico for meetings with Chiapas State Government." Another $50 from the group covered "breakfast and lunch."
The state government of Chiapas came up with $895 to cover the Republican's meals and lodging during the trip, from October 4 through 7, according to his report.
Democratic Assemblywoman Toni Atkins took off for Russia from September 12 through 20. The Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly covered $3495 of the trip, and the Moscow City Duma came up with $2900, according to the Atkins disclosure. The journey was all about "Public policy issues related to transportation, economic development, energy, [and] public finance."
Atkins also went to the State Legislative Leaders Foundation board meeting on December 7 through 9, thanks to $1807 from the foundation.
Her fellow Democrat, state Sen. Juan Vargas, now a congressman, took a trip with his wife to Australia and New Zealand from November 10 through 15. Put together by the California International Relations office, the cost of the junket was covered in part by the "Legislative Council - Parliament of New South Wales," which came up with $2379, Vargas's disclosure says. Three other contributions from Australian and New Zealand agencies brought the disclosed total of the gifts up to $2970.
So far, not all of local legislators' filings have been posted, so more travel updates are likely yet to come.