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Scott Peters squeezes money from Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Merck, Bristol Myers Squibb

Ben Hueso pigs out at Baci, Water Grill, Wildwood Kitchen, Rio de Gado, Costa Brava

June saw a rush of edible spending in the form of a $532 tab at Baci Restaurant in San Diego for Hueso and two companions.
June saw a rush of edible spending in the form of a $532 tab at Baci Restaurant in San Diego for Hueso and two companions.

Hueso’s big officeholder binge

With his tenure as a California state senator winding down, Democrat Ben Hueso has gone on a luxury dining spree with the dwindling cash in his Officeholder Account 2018. State filings show that during the first half of this year, Hueso raised $13,400 for the fund and spent $29,659, leaving a cash balance on June 30 of just $1176. Donations gathered by Hueso during the period included $1500 each from the Western States Petroleum Association and AT&T Services, Inc., along with $2500 from American Express, $2000 from the Police Officers Research Association of California PAC, a cop labor group, and $3900 from the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California PAC, another labor organization.

Ben Hueso, the Very Hungry Senator

Hueso’s officeholder account also spent some money on two charitable causes, including a $2500 contribution to an Irish American charity’s holiday bash. “Irish You a Merry Christmas is an annual charitable initiative with the purpose of bringing festive cheer to children in need in the San Diego community,” says the group’s website. “The event is a partnership between The Irish Outreach Center and the four Irish sporting organizations in San Diego.” Hueso also gave $10,000 to Club Bonito Tecalitlan, a Garden Grove non-profit that awards scholarships.

Big-ticket meals for Hueso and staff consumed much of the remaining cash, including, in February, $276 spent at Baci Restaurant, $230 at Water Grill, and $157 at Wildwood Kitchen and Bar, all in San Diego. In March, Hueso and company were back in town for more free repasts at the officeholder account’s expense, including a $200 tab at the Rio de Gado Brazilian Steakhouse and $111 at the Costa Brava Tapas Restaurant. The same month, Sacramento dining emporiums patronized on the fund’s dime included Maya Traditional Mexican Cuisine ($210), Seasons 52 ($129), and Tequila Museo Mayahuel ($85). It was back to San Diego in April for a “legislative meeting” between Hueso and an unidentified fellow diner at Baci Restaurant, costing $274. In May, Hueso and another unnamed person had a $296 legislative meeting at Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro in Bonita. June, the final month covered by the officeholder account’s most recent disclosure filing, saw a rush of edible spending in the form of a $532 tab at Baci in San Diego for Hueso and two companions. Sacramento establishments included Fox & Goose Public House ($131) and Polanco Cantina ($138). Elsewhere on the road, Hueso stopped by the Seka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room ($116) in Clarksburg, California. He also dined in Napa Valley with three others at the tony Charter Oak Restaurant in St. Helena ($375) and showed up with two associates on a “business tour” at the Tarla Mediterranean Bar and Grill in Napa ($289).

Now running for state Board of Equalization, Hueso was busted for drunk driving in August of 2014 while on his way home from a party at the Capitol. Per published reports, he subsequently apologized and agreed to pay $1100 in fines, serve three years’ probation, and take a six-week alcohol awareness program. “On the floor of the backseat of the vehicle, I observed a large white and blue ceramic container of tequila,” the arresting officer wrote in a report following the incident, the Los Angeles Times reported in a December 18, 2014 account of the sentence.

Peters, heal thyself

House Democrat Scott Peters of La Jolla has found himself at the center of growing controversy over his opposition to a Democratic-favored Medicare bill to mandate lower drug prices. “Over his career, pharmaceutical PACs and employees have donated $860,465 to his campaigns, the second most of any industry,” reported OpenSecrets.org in a September 17 post highlighting the congressman’s longtime financial support from Big Pharma. “So far in the 2022 election cycle, Peters tops all House members and candidates in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry at $88,550.” Added the dispatch: “The day after Peters authored the letter to [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, he received multiple large contributions from the chief executive officers of pharmaceutical companies.

Scott Peters, pharma fan

On May 4, he received a $5800 contribution from Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, $5000 from Eli Lilly and Company CEO David Ricks, $2900 from then-CEO of Merck & Co. Kenneth Frazier and $2900 from Bristol Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio. The same day, Peters also received $1000 each from Lori Reilly, the chief operating officer for the pharmaceutical trade group PhRMA, and Anne Esposito, a lobbyist for the group. Peters later received $5000 each from the PACs for Pfizer and Eli Lilly and Company.”...Shirley Weber, elevated from a seat in the state Assembly to California Secretary of State by Gov. Gavin Newsom, a fellow Democrat, continues to fundraise rapidly for election to the post next year. Among the latest to ante-up: government employees union AFSCME of Washington, D.C., with $16,200 on September 3; and the Women’s Political Committee of Los Angeles, with $8100 on September 14. “Our membership, over 200 women, is composed of women and we only support women candidates,” says the group’s website. “Candidates must support WPC’s guiding principles of reproductive rights, pay equity and human and civil rights to be considered for endorsement and support.”

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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June saw a rush of edible spending in the form of a $532 tab at Baci Restaurant in San Diego for Hueso and two companions.
June saw a rush of edible spending in the form of a $532 tab at Baci Restaurant in San Diego for Hueso and two companions.

Hueso’s big officeholder binge

With his tenure as a California state senator winding down, Democrat Ben Hueso has gone on a luxury dining spree with the dwindling cash in his Officeholder Account 2018. State filings show that during the first half of this year, Hueso raised $13,400 for the fund and spent $29,659, leaving a cash balance on June 30 of just $1176. Donations gathered by Hueso during the period included $1500 each from the Western States Petroleum Association and AT&T Services, Inc., along with $2500 from American Express, $2000 from the Police Officers Research Association of California PAC, a cop labor group, and $3900 from the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California PAC, another labor organization.

Ben Hueso, the Very Hungry Senator

Hueso’s officeholder account also spent some money on two charitable causes, including a $2500 contribution to an Irish American charity’s holiday bash. “Irish You a Merry Christmas is an annual charitable initiative with the purpose of bringing festive cheer to children in need in the San Diego community,” says the group’s website. “The event is a partnership between The Irish Outreach Center and the four Irish sporting organizations in San Diego.” Hueso also gave $10,000 to Club Bonito Tecalitlan, a Garden Grove non-profit that awards scholarships.

Big-ticket meals for Hueso and staff consumed much of the remaining cash, including, in February, $276 spent at Baci Restaurant, $230 at Water Grill, and $157 at Wildwood Kitchen and Bar, all in San Diego. In March, Hueso and company were back in town for more free repasts at the officeholder account’s expense, including a $200 tab at the Rio de Gado Brazilian Steakhouse and $111 at the Costa Brava Tapas Restaurant. The same month, Sacramento dining emporiums patronized on the fund’s dime included Maya Traditional Mexican Cuisine ($210), Seasons 52 ($129), and Tequila Museo Mayahuel ($85). It was back to San Diego in April for a “legislative meeting” between Hueso and an unidentified fellow diner at Baci Restaurant, costing $274. In May, Hueso and another unnamed person had a $296 legislative meeting at Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro in Bonita. June, the final month covered by the officeholder account’s most recent disclosure filing, saw a rush of edible spending in the form of a $532 tab at Baci in San Diego for Hueso and two companions. Sacramento establishments included Fox & Goose Public House ($131) and Polanco Cantina ($138). Elsewhere on the road, Hueso stopped by the Seka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room ($116) in Clarksburg, California. He also dined in Napa Valley with three others at the tony Charter Oak Restaurant in St. Helena ($375) and showed up with two associates on a “business tour” at the Tarla Mediterranean Bar and Grill in Napa ($289).

Now running for state Board of Equalization, Hueso was busted for drunk driving in August of 2014 while on his way home from a party at the Capitol. Per published reports, he subsequently apologized and agreed to pay $1100 in fines, serve three years’ probation, and take a six-week alcohol awareness program. “On the floor of the backseat of the vehicle, I observed a large white and blue ceramic container of tequila,” the arresting officer wrote in a report following the incident, the Los Angeles Times reported in a December 18, 2014 account of the sentence.

Peters, heal thyself

House Democrat Scott Peters of La Jolla has found himself at the center of growing controversy over his opposition to a Democratic-favored Medicare bill to mandate lower drug prices. “Over his career, pharmaceutical PACs and employees have donated $860,465 to his campaigns, the second most of any industry,” reported OpenSecrets.org in a September 17 post highlighting the congressman’s longtime financial support from Big Pharma. “So far in the 2022 election cycle, Peters tops all House members and candidates in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry at $88,550.” Added the dispatch: “The day after Peters authored the letter to [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, he received multiple large contributions from the chief executive officers of pharmaceutical companies.

Scott Peters, pharma fan

On May 4, he received a $5800 contribution from Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, $5000 from Eli Lilly and Company CEO David Ricks, $2900 from then-CEO of Merck & Co. Kenneth Frazier and $2900 from Bristol Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio. The same day, Peters also received $1000 each from Lori Reilly, the chief operating officer for the pharmaceutical trade group PhRMA, and Anne Esposito, a lobbyist for the group. Peters later received $5000 each from the PACs for Pfizer and Eli Lilly and Company.”...Shirley Weber, elevated from a seat in the state Assembly to California Secretary of State by Gov. Gavin Newsom, a fellow Democrat, continues to fundraise rapidly for election to the post next year. Among the latest to ante-up: government employees union AFSCME of Washington, D.C., with $16,200 on September 3; and the Women’s Political Committee of Los Angeles, with $8100 on September 14. “Our membership, over 200 women, is composed of women and we only support women candidates,” says the group’s website. “Candidates must support WPC’s guiding principles of reproductive rights, pay equity and human and civil rights to be considered for endorsement and support.”

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Comments
3

Anybody surprised? Anybody?......................ANYBODY?

Sept. 29, 2021

dirt bags! sewer dwellers! must be pathological as it's the only way they could possibly live with themselves. I'd suggest what we should do with this trash but I don't want my comment deleted. best gov money can buy!

Sept. 30, 2021

Scott Peters had seemed a practical middling Democratic alternative to past right-wing conservative Republican candidates for his seat in the U.S. Congress. Once elected, Peters did not offend. He expressed cool detachment from President Obama's agenda at hometown garden-party fundraisers In La Jolla, and in recent Tea Party years of Trump Republicanism, Peters seemed acceptable and was comfortably re-elected by his comfortable bi-partisan constituents.

But reform-minded voters -- and there are more of them now than in years past-- got a wake-up call mid-month when Peters balked and refused to support the longstanding Democratic goal of lowering America's sky-high prescription drug prices for its citizens.. (Drug company campaign contributions reported here got in the way of this needed social change.) Peters actually joined the Republican opposition along with fellow DINO Representative Kathleen Rice of New York (the sister of our ex-Gov. Jerry Brown!) to block this issue.

Peters' constituents will not forget his abdication of responsibility next election. We'll see if the Congressman sticks to his ludicrous position that astronomical drug prices underwrite pharmaceutical innovation.

Sept. 30, 2021

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