Sunday, August 26, 2012

20 CA lawmakers don't adhere 'no gifts' signs - Sacramento Bee

Of the 23 lawmakers in Sacramento who post signs on their office doors telling visitors that they don't accept gifts, only three follow the ban, according to a newspaper report.

Disclosure forms required by the state show that the rest received gifts from special interest groups last year, including wine, travel to China, and tickets to Disneyland and sporting events, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday (http://lat.ms/Ohewv4).

State law allows legislators to accept gifts worth no more than $10 from a lobbyist, and from other sources if the value isn't over $420.

The Times found that in one case, Democratic Senator Michael Rubio of East Bakersfield accepted a $548 iPad, with the cost shared by two interest groups to keep it under the gift limit.

In another example, Assembly Jared Huffman, a Democrat from San Rafael, reported accepting gifts worth more than $6,000 last year. They included four tickets worth $1,000 for him and his family to sit in the president's suite at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma County for an Indycar race.

Huffman said many of the meals and tickets were not gifts but work-related expenses paid by others. He said that he's been shocked by the amount of gifts brought to his office on "lobby days," when interest groups bring large numbers of people to the Capitol to support their causes.

"I've had fruit baskets from the California citrus folks, endless books, apparel of all types," Huffmand said. "All of this stuff I don't want. I don't ask for it."

The three legislators with signs on their doors who did not accept gifts were Sen. Sam Blakeslee and Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, both Republicans from San Luis Obispo, and Assemblyman James Beall, a Democrat from San Jose.

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