State lawmakers travel data kept secret

March 17, 2010

California taxpayers spent $2 million on plane travel for their elected representatives during a recent 2 1/2 year-period, but the Legislature in Sacramento won’t disclose the destinations or produce proof that the trips were really official state business.

The reason for the refusal? Security concerns. [Associated Press]

Most of the cost, about $1.5 million, was for travel to and from Sacramento during the regular January-to-September sessions.  Lawmakers also billed the state almost $400,000 for other travel within California and $55,000 for out-of-state travel.

The Associated Press has been trying to obtain travel records as part of its ongoing investigation of legislative spending.

Officials refuse to provide the requested documents, citing concern for the lawmakers’ safety as the reason to not release information about trips already taken. These safety concerns, they argued, outweigh the public’s right to know.

Because of the Legislature’s refusal to provide information, it is impossible to know where lawmakers flew and for what purpose.