Commentary: Schwarzenegger's aides gouging taxpayers

This editorial appeared in The Fresno Bee.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is trying to persuade voters in May to pass a package of bills that are the foundation of the state budget compromise, didn't need the public relations hit his administration just took after it was revealed that key aides had been gouging the taxpayers for personal travel.

The Los Angeles Times reported that top Schwarzenegger officials charged taxpayers for airfare, hotel room and meals, despite a Schwarzenegger edict against nonessential travel. That's not the kind of publicity the governor needs as he pitches the budget propositions on the May 19 special election ballot. That doesn't make it easy for him to assure voters the state is running as efficiently as possible.

Consider the antics of Carrie Lopez, state consumer affairs director. The Times reported that she billed taxpayers for transportation costs to attend a Justin Timberlake concert in Los Angeles with her daughter. Lopez said those costs were for a "meeting" with Sempra Energy. It seems that was stretching the truth. The Times reported Sempra paid for the concert tickets, but a spokesman told the newspaper that there was no meeting.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.

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