About 28 months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that would have restricted the number of gifts legislators and other state leaders could receive from lobbyists and the companies that employ them.
Senate Bill 1443, by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, would have reduced to $200 from $440 the value of gifts an official could receive from a single source each year. It also would have prohibited officeholders from accepting free tickets to concerts, sporting events and theme parks.
Since Brown's veto, lobbyists and companies that employ them have given more than $370,000 worth of gifts directly to state Assembly members and senators, according to a Sacramento Bee review of disclosure reports from the Secretary of State. They've given another $600,000 worth of gifts to legislative staff members, spouses and children of legislators and other elected and appointed public officials.
Those gifts included $10,000 worth of tickets to Disneyland; $47,000 worth of tickets to concerts and Kings games at Sleep Train Arena and Golden 1 Center; $17,000 worth of lodging and golf expenses at Torrey Pines resort in San Diego; $73,000 worth of lodging and golf expenses at Pebble Beach; $22,000 worth of admission fees and food at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club; $10,000 worth of tickets to the San Francisco Giants; and $29,000 worth of food and lodging at Ritz Carlton hotels in Half Moon Bay, Laguna Niguel and other locations.
In his veto message, Brown downplayed the influence these and other gifts have on state leaders and said that although politicians should be subject to constraint, “some balance and common sense is required.”
The amount of gifts given in the last two-and-a-half years is not unusual. Since 2000, lobbyists and their employers have given well more than $6 million in gifts to state leaders and their aides.
This database shows every gift given by lobbyists and those that employ them to legislators, state leaders and their staff from October 2014 through December 2016.
Updated with 2016 gifts in March 2017.
There are a few ways to search the database: Enter the last name of a legislator (Ex: "Gipson" for Mike Gipson); enter the name of a company that lobbies legislators (Ex: "AT&T"); enter the name of a gift that a legislator might receive (Ex: "tickets" or "dinner.")
Notes: State law limits lobbyists and their employers to giving gifts worth up to $460 to a single person in a year with one important exception: Paying for travel to participate in conferences is not subject to gift limits. This database does not include gifts from organizations or individuals that don't employ lobbyists; for instance, some nonprofits without lobbyists pay directly for legislators to travel to conferences. Misspelling and spelling variations in the data, which are submitted by lobbyists under disclosure laws, are common. If you see multiple gifts of the same price and date but from different entities, it's likely that it's one gift from multiple sources.