The governments of St. Petersburg and Moscow paid for state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-7) to travel to Russia for eight days last September to study transportation issues in that country. DeSaulnier is the chair of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.
DeSaulnier’s Russia trip was one of scores of gifts and travel payments disclosed by Contra Costa County lawmakers, and recently released by the Fair Political Practices Commission.
[See the 2012 statements of economic interest attached to this article for DeSaulnier, Sen. Loni Hancock, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner.]
In total, DeSaulnier accepted slightly more than $6,000 in gifts in 2012, including another $941 from the Parliament of New South Wales for ground transportation, food and cultural activities during a trip to Australia in November.
DeSaulnier was hardly the only member of Contra Costa County’s legislative delegation in Sacramento to accept gifts last year. Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla reported around $7,000 in gifts and travel payments for 2012. The Pacific Policy Research Foundation paid $2,400 for Bonilla to attend a conference in Hawaii for three days in November. Bonilla’s spokesman said the conference was about the California Global Warming Solutions Act and the federal Affordable Care Act.
Not all Contra Costa lawmakers traveled so widely on other people’s tabs. Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-15) reported no out-of-state travel. However, she did report around $700 in gifts, mostly meals paid for by the Democratic party and the campaigns of fellow Democrats.
Assemblywoman Buchanan (D-16) reported $4,300 in gifts and travel for 2012. The items range from $900 paid by the California Issues Forum in speaking and participation fees for a one-day panel to a $5 mug and lapel pin from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.
Sen. Loni Hancock reported around $1,250 for dinners and events in Northern California.