California Lawmakers Head to Maui with Lobbyists

Kea Lani resort, Maui (Michael Buckner / Getty)
Michael Buckner / Getty

Twenty California lawmakers will be attending an annual conference at a resort in Maui that is paid for by representatives of special interest groups that lobby the state legislature.

“Those corporations want to curry favor with elected officials,” Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School professor and president of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission told the Los Angeles Times.

The annual conference is sponsored by the nonprofit Independent Voter Project which reportedly gets its money for the event from up to 75 sponsors.

Last year’s event at the Fairmont Kea Lani resort included sponsors like Occidental Petroleum Corp., the Western State Petroleum Assn., Eli Lilly, the Altria tobacco firm and the California Cable and Telecommunications Association. The resort charges close to $400 per night for its least expensive room. The Times notes that many of the lawmakers use their campaign accounts to pay for airfare.

In years past, the Independent Voters Project has reportedly paid up to $2,500 for each lawmaker. This year, however, Dan Howle, co-chairman of the nonprofit, declined to state the costs.

As Breitbart News reported last year, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill requiring nonprofits that sponsor legislators’ travel to reveal their donors.

Consistent controversy over lawmakers’ attendance at this conference reportedly resulted in the legislature passing of a requirement that organizers disclose which sponsors send representatives to this event. However, the new mandate won’t come into effect in time to affect this year’s conference, notes the Times.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.


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