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Mar 04, 2008 - 12:20 PM

Ethics board strikes again

by Carmen Balber
The Fair Political Practices Commission is on a roll. The California ethics board took another aggressive step to curtail abuse of gift-giving and travel in Sacramento this week with proposed new rules that would require all travel by the governor, legislators, and other elected officials be reported as gifts in annual public statements. No more skirting the rules, as the governor has, by claiming the travel was for "the governor's office," not him, so no need to work very hard keeping track of who paid for it.

Staffers, who have accompanied the governor overseas and have even been given trips in their own right, might still have travel paid as a gift to the agency, but would have to follow strict limits on how much they spent. No more Four Seasons in Sydney for the gov's people -- they'll now have to keep spending below the official government per diem rate.

FPPC Chair Ross Johnson got it right when he told the Sacramento Bee: "I don't think that some high-ranking bureaucrat in a state agency ought to be able to take a trip and wind up staying at a five-star hotel."

I'd take it one step further and extend the per diem spending cap to travel by our elected politicians as well. Schwarzenegger and Nez don't need jacuzzi baths to do the people's business any more than their staff does.

You can read the memo about the new rules here.

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