California lawmakers report meals, sports tickets, other gifts

An outrider watches as horses leave the gate during the opening day of horse racing at the Del Mar Race Track in 2013. Last year the club was among entities that gave lawmakers free tickets.
(Susannah Kay / Los Angeles Times)

SACRAMENTO -- While a state Senate panel considers further restrictions on gifts, California lawmakers reported Monday receiving thousands of dollars in sports tickets, meals, amusement park entries and other gifts, many from special interests that lobby state government.

The annual statements of economic interest for 2013 were filed Monday with the state Fair Political Practices Commission and show each state official’s financial assets as well as gifts from sources that try to influence the Legislature.

Those reporting gifts include:

-- Sen. Mark Wyland (R-Escondido) received $345 worth of Turf Club admission, Directors Room entry and valet parking from Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. He reimbursed the expenses but after the 30 day window for legally doing so to avoid it being a gift. He also reported $710 worth of transportation and meals from Presence Switzerland, an arm of that country’s government, for a trip to Europe also attended by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senate Republican leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar.


-- Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) reported a three-month membership worth $315 from the Capital Athletic Club and two tickets worth $270 to Cirque du Soleil from the government of Canada.

-- Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) received $424 in fight tickets from Zuffa, which promotes mixed martial arts bouts; a $330 meal provided by the Western States Petroleum Assn.; and $264 in food and tickets to a football game from USC.

-- Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), in addition to receiving several baby gifts to mark the birth of his son, reported $270 in Disneyland tickets from the Walt Disney Co., and $174 in food and beverages from Time Warner Cable.

The California Latino Caucus Leadership PAC gave Padilla and other members each $373 worth of gifts that included a personalized box, tie and portfolio.

Last month, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) appointed a Senate Ethics Working Group to look at improving campaign finance and gift rules. One member of the panel, Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside), said he wants the group to consider outlawing certain gifts, including sports and entertainment tickets, that are not necessary for lawmakers to do their jobs.

Roth did not report any sports or entertainment tickets. His only gift was a $93 dinner hosted by Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife for all senators, with costs covered by the nonprofit California State Protocol Foundation.


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