Mercury Public Affairs has agreed to pay $4,000 in fines to California's ethics watchdog agency for violating the $10 gift limit on lobbying firms when it provided dinners worth $200 to former state Sen. Ronald Calderon and his wife.
In October, Calderon was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty in a public corruption case unrelated to the Mercury dinner.
The fines proposed against Mercury by the enforcement staff of the state Fair Political Practices Commission stem from violating the $10 gift limit and failing to report that Calderon’s wife also received a dinner, according to the investigative report.
Several months ago, President Trump signed into law a repeal of sweeping privacy regulations limiting what broadband providers can do with customer data. Now, an Assembly Democrat is trying to resuscitate those rules for Californians.
Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) unveiled a measure on Monday that would largely enshrine the sputtered federal regulations into California state law. The bill would require Internet service providers, such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T, to get permission from customers before using, selling or permitting access to data about their browsing history.
Such restrictions were crafted by the Federal Communications Commission under the Obama administration. But the FCC under Trump sought to roll back those rules before they went into effect. Congress approved the repeal in March, and the president signed it.
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Rep. Karen Bass, a Westside Democrat, is already paying for buses and vans to ferry volunteers over the Sepulveda Pass into Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and the Antelope Valley to reinforce local Democrats as they start up voter registration drives. Organizers say they have registered 80 voters over three trips so far.
California may offer Democrats a lopsided advantage as a whole, but this patch of the state — where the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles comes to an end and the Mojave Desert begins — is still a bastion for the Republican Party.
The volunteers are in no short supply. Many are political neophytes newly invigorated by opposition to President Trump and itching for something to do.
“In L.A., you kind of feel like you are in this helpless political bubble,” Zoe Ward, a 32-year-old student in UCLA’s film directing master’s program, said after scouring Palmdale for new voters on a recent Saturday. “Coming out here, it feels like my minutes and hours go further.”
Gov. Jerry Brown, state legislators and other state elected officials were granted 3% pay raises Monday by a state panel that noted that it is slightly less than the salary increase that was recently given to rank-and-file state workers.
Anthony Barkett, one member of the state Citizens Compensation Commission, said the increase was reasonable given his concern about the state’s unfunded liabilities for pensions and the potential for “catastrophic” budget effects if Obamacare is repealed.
“I’m for a moderate increase again,” Barkett told the panel, adding, "Our legislators need to address these bigger problems.”
As Orange County faces questions about its reputation as a Republican bastion, Rep. Devin Nunes told party donors on Saturday night that their pushback was key to fighting the majority Democrats’ power in the state.
“It is so critical for us to win here and keep winning here,” the Tulare Republican said.
Nunes was the keynote speaker of the Orange County GOP’s annual Flag Day fundraiser. The event was a testament to the vulnerability of some of his fellow Republicans — members of Congress who were reelected last fall but also saw Hillary Clinton win their districts.
The Orange County GOP showcased state Sen. Janet Nguyen at its Saturday fundraiser in Irvine, having the Garden Grove Republican deliver the pledge.
Nguyen, a Vietnamese war refugee, was in the headlines this year when she was forcefully removed while trying to speak out on the Senate floor against the late Sen. Tom Hayden, one of the most outspoken opponents of the Vietnam War.