great being a California lawmaker. People hold doors for you, they call
you sir and the state provides you with a staff and a couple of cars at
your disposal. And then there’s the gifts from your colleagues and the
special interest groups who want your attention…
Especially the special interest groups.
According to economic disclosure forms filed last week with state Fair Political Practices Commission, Orange County’s 14 lawmakers in the State Legislature received nearly $20,000 in gifts last year alone, most from special interest groups like the California Building Industry Association or the Civil Justice Association of California or businesses like the Walt Disney Company or the Irvine Company.
Below is a list of some of the most interesting gifts received by lawmakers, organized by category.
Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, appears to be the biggest sports fan of bunch, receiving a total of six Lakers tickets on three separate occasions (two tickets worth $180 from Majestic Realty in the City of Industry; two tickets worth $150 from Portland Cement in Ontario; two tickets worth $325 from Southern California Edison). Of those tickets, only the two from Majestic Realty came before he it was clear he would become a lawmakers.
Plus, Hagman also received $316 worth of football tickets from UCLA (after we knew he’d join the Legislature) and four rounds of golf worth $320 from Vellano Country Club in Hagman’s hometown of Chino Hills (two rounds before we’d knew he’d be a lawmaker).
And Hagman’s just the tip of the iceberg. State Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, received $180 in Angels tickets (from CBS Outdoor in San Francisco); Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, $80 (William Doddridge of Tustin, president of Goldenwest Diamond Corporation). Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona, received Sacramento Kings tickets worth $120.99 from AT&T and Kings tickets worth $175 from the California Hospital Association. He also received $375 worth of Anaheim Duck tickets from Mike Kerr of Bluestone Communities in Newport Beach (but that was before he was a lock for the Legislature).
Assemblyman Jose Solorio, D-Santa Ana, reports receiving from AT&T a single basketball ticket worth $316. Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca gave State Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, basketball tickets worth $140. The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians gave Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, a basketball ticket (or tickets, the report isn’t clear) worth $89.50.
Assemblyman Jim Silva, R-Huntington Beach, and State Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Oceanside, both received free admission, food and parking worth $250 each from Del Mar Thoroughbred Club on July 16, 2008.
Pacific Life also gave Silva tickets worth $175 to the Pacific Life Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, near Silva’s second home in Palm Springs. AT&T gave State Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, a $100 ticket to the U.S. Open golf tournament near San Diego. Pacific Life also gave Walters $380 worth of tickets to the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl in San Francisco.
Mickey was good to Orange County’s lawmakers this year, giving out $884 in free admission tickets to three lawmakers (Harman, Huff and Walters) and while hosting two others (State Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, and DeVore) to a March 28, 2008 event for a total of $230. DeVore also reporting receiving a gift of $76 in connection with a Dec. 6 “candlelight ceremony” and a gift of $82.92 for a “movie & refreshments” on May 24.
Miller received six tickets (and food) worth $375 for the Love Ride concert headlined by the Foo Fighters and ZZ Top on Oct. 26, 2008. Assemblyman Mike Duvall, R-Yorba Linda, received two VIP tickets to Love Ride worth $100.
CSU Fullerton also gave Duvall $170 tickets to a concert on Feb. 2, 2008. Inland Energy in Newport Beach bought July 11, 2008 concert tickets for Silva (worth $75), DeVore (worth $90) and Duvall (worth $206.74, cost including parking and a reception).
Nectar Accessories gave three lawmakers (Duval, Solorio and Assemblyman Van Tran, R-Westminster) bluetooth headsets worth $119.99 each. Harman got a bluetooth headset worth $144.98. Nectar also gave Duvall and Tran Nectar Blue CLIPs worth $24.99.
Excluding the meals and receptions, Hagman received a keg of beer from The Miller Brewing Company in Sacramento worth $72.35 (again received after we knew he’d become a lawmaker). Artesia businessman Andy Hsu gave Mendoza Godiva Chocolates worth $130. The Wine Institute gave Tran a $48 bottle of wine. The California Citrus Mutual gave Wyland oranges worth $6 while the American Electronics Association gave him a $10 “chocolate computer.”
LODGING AND PARKING
The City of Huntington Beach gave Silva a parking pass worth $200 and a Harman one worth $175. John Wayne Airport gave Harman, Silva and Solorio parking passes worth $390 each. The Chukchansi Economic Development paid for a night of housing for Mendoza at a cost of $150. Correa attended a Democratic retreat at a Northern California wine lodge paid for by the California Professional Firefighters and the Consumer Attorneys of California.
Duvall nabbed $135 in tickets and parking from the OC Fair and $200 in auto show tickets from the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. DeVore received $75 in pottery from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco. Chrysler and the National Off-Road Association paid $390 for Huff to go on a “Rubicon Jeep Trip.” Jeep Jamboree USA bought Huff a $60 jacket for the trip.
Much of the gifts — 45 percent, or about $8,900 — went to meals or receptions. Here’s a breakdown of how much each OC lawmaker received in total gifts, from most to least:
Assemblyman Mike Duvall, R-Yorba Linda $2,393.33
Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills* $2,094.35
Assemblyman Jose Solorio, D-Santa Ana $1,869.91
State Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach $1,824.10
Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia $1,771.01
State Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel $1,584.03
Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona* $1,445.78
State Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar $1,381.00
Assemblyman Jim Silva, R-Huntington Beach $1,379.84
State Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana $1,181.86
Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine $1,156.76
Assemblyman Van Tran, R-Westminster $1,002.52
State Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Oceanside $ 615.16
Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point* $ 0.00
*These lawmakers were elected in 2008. Miller received 69 percent of the value of his gifts ($996) after it was clear he would become a state lawmaker; Hagman received 75 percent ($1,580). And don’t feel sorry for Harkey. While she doesn’t report any gifts, she does reporting winning a 2009 hybrid Lexus RX400h in a raffle to benefit The Ocean Institute in Dana Point.