On Friday, the California Assembly Rules Committee released current expenditure data after weeks of delay. However, CA Common Sense (CACS) finds the records are incomplete and deceptive. CACS compared the records to already available payroll data and found that the Rules Committee underreported personal staff salaries by $2.75 million.
Friday’s data is especially misleading in comparing Assembly members’ spending. For example, it suggests Assemblymember Portantino spends the most on personal staff at $213k. But 17 other Assembly Members spend more than on personal staff including Assemblymember Skinner, chair of the Rules Committee.
There are also large discrepancies in expenses for caucus and overhead staff. Friday’s data underreports personal staff salaries for Republicans by $1.19 million. The Republican Caucus over-reports staff salaries by $1.09 million. CACS is looking into whether staff was reallocated from members to the caucus to make spending appear lower.
On the other hand, Democrat personal staff spending is underreported by $1.56 million and overhead staff spending is over-reported by $1.56 million. CACS has asked the Rules Committee to explain these apparent discrepancies, including in Rules Committee (controlled by Democrats) overhead parameters.
CACS thinks that the Assembly Rules Committee has failed to and should accurately disclose how the Assembly spends our taxpayer money.
Dakin Sloss is the president and a spokesperson for California Common Sense (CACS), a Stanford-based non-profit devoted to opening government financial data to the public, informing Californians about governmental inefficiencies, and promoting more effective and efficient government policies.