Weeks after the Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee filed a lawsuit against the California State Assembly to compel public disclosure of current office budget and spending records, the Senate and Assembly has released member-by-member spending records.
Friday's release - which shows the total expenditure of Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada) from the past eight months to be the highest in the assembly - follows that would force the Legislature to open its books.
"The Assembly's release [of these numbers] underscores the need for transparency more than ever,'' Portantino said by phone Saturday.
"The numbers are misleading, inaccurate and an attempt tp hide the members' actual budgets, which is why I introduced the legislation. If we exempt ourselves from full disclosure, that's hypocritical. We need to embrace transparency.''
Portantino and Assembly Speaker John Perez have at each other since Portantino . Democratic party leaders slashed Portantino's budget and issued furlough notices for his staff.
In an interview with the , Perez' press secretary John Vigna said, “The fact is that we have released every penny spent by the Assembly for last year and this year up to July.
“Mr. Portantino has been grandstanding throughout this whole event, and now he’s acting like Donald Trump acted when the president’s birth certificate got released.”
Portantino's press secretary, Wendy Gordon, told Patch Friday that the Assembly numbers, which show that Portantino spent more than any other Assembly member from Dec. 1, 2010 to July 31, 2011 - including Speaker Perez, who has a much larger staff - are "smoke and mirrors.''
Regarding Portantino being the biggest spender in the Assembly, the La Cañada resident, who's begun raising money for his 2012 Congressional bid, balks at the figures. Portantino doesn't believe that he's overspent, he believes members' budgets have been misrepresented.
Biggest Spenders Individually (total expenditures) of the California State Assembly, based on data released from Assembly Speaker John Perez:
#1 Anthony Portantino, $297,579.99
#2 Mike Feuer, $293,736.85
#3 Ricardo Lara, $289.723.08
#4 Charles Calderon, $284,497.24
#5 Felipe Fuentes, $282,016.90
Editor's Note: The story has been changed from its original posting to reflect a phonecall with Assemblyman Portantino Saturday morning.