California legislative leaders deluged with gifts, including foreign trips, sports tickets and liquor

March 1, 2017

| LA Times

The California Legislature’s four top leaders accepted $60,000 in gifts last year, including sports tickets, expensive meals, golf games and travel to foreign countries, according the annual reports they were required to file Wednesday.

Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) accepted 60 gifts worth $24,381, the largest amount of the four lawmakers, including travel expenses to Morocco, El Salvador, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

He received $3,100 in expenses at the Pebble Beach golf resort from the Assn. of California Life and Health Insurance Cos. and the Governor’s Cup Foundation in exchange for speeches. He also accepted free tickets to SeaWorld, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a soccer game at the Rose Bowl. The gifts were topped off with a $50 cigar from the Sacramento County Labor Council.

Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley reported accepting gifts worth $19,955, including dinners, a game ticket from the San Francisco 49ers and $880 in golf games, half of it provided by the state prison guards union.

Mayes’ biggest gift was $11,077 in travel expenses for a study trip to Germany and the Czech Republic paid for by the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, a San Francisco think tank financed by interests including PG&E;, Shell, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the State Building and Construction Trades Council, Tesoro and Chevron Corp.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) accepted 63 gifts valued at $12,949. The biggest was $5,680 in travel expenses to China paid for by the Chinese People’s Assn. for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

Rendon also received about $1,000 in art from Assembly staffers and a $68 bottle of scotch.

Senate Republican leader Jean Fuller of Bakersfield reported 29 gifts worth $2,942, including $763 in travel expenses from the California Independent Petroleum Assn. to speak at a conference in Newport Beach.