EDITOR”S NOTE: Assemblyman Anthony Portantino of LaCanada-Flintridge dared to stand up to his own Democratic Party leadership that controls the state legislature by voting against a phony budget and for that he was punished by Speaker John Perez with threats to furlough his entire staff for more than a month. Portantino than exposed the outrageous lies about how much the Assembly spends on staff, prompting the LA Times and Sacramento Bee to sue for the full information — a move which led Perez to release false and incomplete information. The Bee now reports in this article about how they hide the truth of their outlandish spending from the public:
Calfiornia Assembly Reports on Lawmakers’ Spending Misleads the Public
Assembly records show that Bob Blumenfield spent $150,099 to run
his office for the first eight months of this legislative year.
of his colleagues, in fact, spent more than $297,579, according to
budget information Assembly leaders recently made public.
Woodland Hills Democrat actually spent more than three times that much,
because salaries of some of his personal staff were charged to the
budget committee he chairs, a Bee analysis shows. Spending reported for
other members is similarly misleading.
The Assembly routinely underreports the amount of money used to run
legislators’ personal offices and overreports the operating costs of
committees that do the brunt of the policy work in the house. The
practice obscures how the lower house’s $146.7 million budget truly is
spent at the Capitol and protects legislators from public criticism of
Chiefs of staff for 40 of 52 Democratic lawmakers,
for example, do not count as a member expense in records released to
More than 170 aides bankrolled by committees are not
committee staff – they serve as personal office aides to the chairman or
chairwoman, The Bee found.
The key issue is not accounting but
transparency: Californians pay the tab but have no practical way of
determining how much each lawmaker spends to run his or her office.
Legislature and its leadership have perfected shell games to an art
form,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers
Others say the Assembly’s practices are neither new
nor unreasonable because duties tend to overlap between committees and
“You’re looking for black and white,”
Assembly administrator Jon Waldie said of job duties. “Black and white
doesn’t exist in this building.”