State Lawmaker Pushes For Transparency On Spending

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — The California State Assembly and Senate have made their staff and office budgets public but some critics, including Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, are calling the Friday night document dump bogus.

After facing political pressure from Portantino, the Assemblyman who represents the state’s 44th District, and some Republicans — as well as legal pressure from major newspapers threatening to take them to court — the Democratic leaders have relented.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

The budgets were released, posted online and show spending reports for each individual legislator. However, the numbers are not the actual office budget documents, and the true amounts spent are hidden, claimed Portantino.

“I think it’s a joke and I think it’s an insult to the California taxpayer,” Portantino scolded. He sarcastically added that the Friday night where a hurricane is about to barrel down on the Eastern Seaboard is a perfect time to release the documents publicly.

“These documents are completely and totally misleading. There’s no way to get to the heart of the matter. They need to just stop the silliness, embrace transparency and come clean,” said Portantino.

The tables evidently show millions spent on office rent, gasoline, and telephones. There was a zero in the column for the apparently obsolete telegraph expenditures. Portantino said the charts let lawmakers hide some of their staff salaries, within various committee expenses.

“Show the public how you’re spending their money in an accurate way. Come on!” chastised the Southern California lawmaker.

The Democratic leaders maintain they are committed to transparency.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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