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Politics

High-Speed Rail Agency Uses Taxpayer Dollars To Lobby State Lawmakers

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California High-Speed Rail

Rendering of a high-speed rail train. (CA High-Speed Rail Authority)

MattBigler20100909_KCBS_0384r Matt Bigler
KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – It’s a revelation that might not go over so well with California taxpayers: newly-unveiled documents show that the state’s bullet train agency hired a PR firm to lobby state legislators – using taxpayer dollars to do so.

According to the documents, the California High-Speed Rail Authority paid over $160,000 last year to hire the firm to court the state’s politicians. Bullet train planners described it as a vital expense when staff was too small, but according to published reports, even some of the projects own advocates consider the fact that a state agency used state funds to lobby lawmakers wasteful, if not outright unethical.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

The revelations come as the rail authority asked lawmakers to spend $2.7 billion on the first phase of the project, which Gov. Jerry Brown said in his most recent State of the State speech last month is a wise investment for California.

“President Obama strongly supports the project and has provided the majority of funds for the first phase,” declared Brown. “It’s now your decision.”

The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission said it doesn’t have rules for this type of lobbying, which the rail authority now said is being handled in-house.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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