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Sometimes I have to shake my head in amazement at the audacity of things that politicians do. No, not good old Client 9 - that one wasn't so shocking. But here's what the LA Times revealed yesterday:

The California Senate offers special interests that give money to its charity the opportunity to travel with state lawmakers to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Jerusalem, Tokyo and other foreign locales.

...From 2004 through 2007, 12 of 18 foreign trips for lawmakers that were
coordinated by the Senate included lobbyists or other representatives
of companies that donated at least $2,000 each to the Senate's
California International Relations Foundation, according to Senate
records.

...Donors who gave $2,000 -- the amount was raised to $3,000 this year --
or more got a seat on the foundation's board of directors. The board's
23 directors, or alternates of their choosing, are invited to join the
Senate delegations overseas, paying their own way, said Ezilda
Samoville, director of the Senate Office of International Relations and
the foundation.

Special Interests --- Pay $3K --- Get Face Time With Politicians In Far Away Places.

It doesn't matter how you spin it, it's selling lobbyists political access. This time, through an official institution of the California State Senate.