Lobbyists and Corporations Foot the Bill for California Lawmaker’s Hawaiian Trip

Owen Poindexter | November 18, 2010

The Sacramento Bee reported that at least a dozen California state legislators flew to Hawaii this past week for a large annual get together with lobbyists and corporate officials in separate conferences in Maui and Kauai.

The article named  energy providers PG&E and Southern California Edison, the trade group California Manufacturers and Technology Association, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association as well as pharmaceutical companies as groups that sent lawmakers "hobnobbing with interest groups in a tropical paradise."

The legislators in attendance according to Jim Sanders's article included state senators Bill Emmerson (R), Rod Wright (D), Ron Calderon (D), Tony Strickland (R) and Juan Vargas (D) at the larger meeting in Maui, and Roy Ashburn (R) attended the conference in Kauai. Assemblymembers in attendance included Isadore Hall (D), Cameron Smyth (R), Noreen Evans (D), Tom Berryhill (R), and Assembly Speaker John Perez (D) in Maui and Paul Cook (R) in Kauai.

The conference itself is paid for by many of the interest groups in attendance through donations to the non-profit organization that puts it on, the California Independent Voter Project. Legislators attending the Maui conference had their airfare and rooms paid for by the hosts*.

The names and organizations listed are not comprehensive. They are only the ones that the Sacramento Bee was able to obtain. Below are the campaign contributions from each listed organization to all named legislators. Juan Vargas was just elected, and campaign contributions data for him is not currently available on, which only tracks current lawmakers. Data for senators is from the last two campaign cycles (1/01/2007-6/28/2010) and for only the most recent cycle for assemblymembers (1/01/2007-6/28/2010). Full contributions data from this cycle has not yet been submitted by campaign committees. Details of who attended the conference may become available as disclosure forms are processed (the conference itself, because it is run by a non-profit, is not required to disclose its funders).

Contributions data provided by the National Institute on Money in State Politics (


Pharm IndustryPG&E       
So. California EdisonCA Manu. & Tech. AssnCorrectional Peace Officers Assn
Cameron Smyth$10,300$3,900$3,500$-$-
Isadore Hall$15,763$4,500$2,300$-$2,950
John A. Perez$17,995$3,350$2,150$-$3,900
Noreen Evans$3,000$3,900$1,000$-$-
Paul Cook$3,500$7,800$3,500$-$4,900
Tom Berryhill$3,000$5,700$1,500$-$-
SenatorsPharm IndustryPG&ESo. California EdisonCA Manu. & Tech. AssnCorrectional Peace Officers Assn
Bill Emmerson$29,346$7,200$1,500$-$3,600
Rod Wright$27,050$5,200$3,300$1,874$3,600
Ron Calderon$48,300$4,700$2,800$1,250$2,300
Roy Ashburn$-$-$-$-$-
Tony Strickland$36,145$1,250$7,600$-$5,100

* CORRECTION: Earlier version of this post stated that accomodations for both conferences were paid for by the hosting organizations.