SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – A simmering feud over the privacy of state lawmakers’ office budgets has boiled over into public view in Sacramento.
Now, some legislators are bucking their leadership and releasing records on their own.
The spat started when Southern California Assemblyman Anthony Portantino was the only Democrat to vote against the state budget.
KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:
He claims Speaker John Perez cut his office budget as punishment, so Portantino demanded that all lawmakers’ office budgets be made public.
Perez has refused to do that, naming a task force led by Rules Committee Chairwoman Nancy Skinner of Berkeley to study the issue, a move which infuriated Portantino.
“It’s an outrage that the people in charge of the secrets would then appoint themselves to be in charge of the committee on secrets to come back with a recommendation in January of how to keep the secrets,” he said.
But now, Assembly Republicans are joining Portantino’s call for openness, with some, including Assemblymember Shannon Grove of Bakersfield, releasing their budget records.
“It’s the right thing to do. I believe in transparency,” Grove said. “It’s the people’s money. They have every right to look at it, scrutinize it, appraise it or disagree with it. The bottom line is that it is their money.”
Each lawmaker gets $263,000 plus an additional allocation, which in Grove’s case was $60,000. But she said some offices get millions that are not publicly disclosed.
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