|Who stole the People's Money? - - - 'Twas him.|
The names and the faces of corruption change, but not the corruption itself.
The legislature spent $256 million on itself, but we are not allowed to see how one single dime was spent.
Extreme bi-partisan corruption is standard in Sacramento.
Children and gullible adults are told pretend never-neverland bedtime stories about how government works. Stories about brave politicians and the even braver loyal opposition. While the fact of the matter is everyone has their snouts sucking furiously deep in the public trough.
There is no "loyal opposition" only fellow political hacks getting what they can for themselves.
Several newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, have gone to court to challenge the Legislature's refusal to turn over records about how leadership doles out taxpayer resources to the rank and file.
If a real opposition party existed in this People's Republic they would be the ones filing a court challenge and try to build up their political party. But no. We live in a one Socialist Party state where both "sides" agree with each other 90% of the time.
The Legislature says those records are privileged reports the L.A. Times.
At the center of the court challenge are legal exemptions lawmakers long ago carved out for themselves so that they would not have to operate with the level of transparency required of almost everyone else in government. The Legislative Open Records Act, government watchdog groups have long complained, effectively shields backroom business from public view.
They see the law's title as a cruel joke.
"It really could be renamed the Public Secrets Act of the California Legislature," said Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition. "It provides very little access."
The law includes nearly a dozen exemptions and makes each chamber's rules committee the arbiter of legislative records. Officials repeatedly have rejected requests for information that would shed light on the legislative process, including the daily calendars of lawmakers and details about taxpayer-financed trips.
Where a law comes from, and who's involved in influencing it, in what detail is made invisible," said Terry Francke, general counsel for Californians Aware, a group advocating open government.
This month, the Assembly Rules Committee denied multiple requests for the office budgets of all 80 members of the lower house, as well as spending records for legislative committees. Administrators argued that such records were exempt from disclosure under broad provisions that protect "preliminary drafts, notes or legislative memoranda" and "correspondence of and to individual members of the Legislature and their staff."
At issue in the lawsuit filed Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court is whether even the weak legislative open records law permits that level of secrecy.
Jim Ewert, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Assn., called the committee's rejection a "tortured interpretation" of the law. "I fail to see how [the exemptions] apply to some of the most basic types of information that the public should have — and that is financial information about how government works," he said.
Tracking specific office spending in a timely manner is virtually impossible. In the state budget, the Legislature's allocation is a single line-item with no detail: $256 million.
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