Follow the money
The Bay Area News Group's examination of Bay Area legislators' 2012 campaign finance reports found a lot of details lacking. Here are some examples:
Joe Coto, the former Assembly member who lost a state Senate race to Jim Beall, D-San Jose, listed that 40 people attended an $8,000 fundraiser at Coyote Creek Golf Club. But he wasn't as forthcoming about a $4,950 fundraiser at an Oakland Raiders game, specifying only that the money went for game tickets. Coto also paid his daughter Lisa, who appeared in a TV ad with him, $24,080 as a consultant.
Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, provided intricate details about some of his expenditures. He reimbursed a staff member $43.09 for helium for balloons at a campaign event. But he didn't go into details of a pair of trips, in April and June, to Arizona with a "household member" that cost $961. He provided no details about a US Airways $449 flight in October, or two Southwest Airlines flights worth $680 in January. He also spent $3,389 on artwork and frames for his office.
Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, listed two payments totaling $991 for Humphrey's on the Delta, a steak and seafood restaurant at the Barbara Price Marina Park in Antioch -- under the campaign paraphernalia/miscellaneous category. There were no details on what paraphernalia or miscellaneous items were bought there, nor how many people were fed.
Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, spent $796 for a fundraiser at a San Francisco 49ers game. There was no information on how many people attended, who attended, nor how much he raised.
Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, preferred the Oakland A's Coliseum as a place to hold a meeting at a cost of $320. No details were given on who attended and for what purpose.
Sen. Bill Monning, D-Santa Cruz, spent $999.68 for candidate and staff lodging at the Luxe Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. There are no details on what the purpose was or the length of the stay, or even when. Nor did he report how many staff members went on the trip. He also provided no details about four stays at the Best Western in Sacramento ($477) or a night at the Peachtree Inn in San Luis Obispo ($177). He did provide the number of guests -- five -- who ate with him at the Wild Donkey Cafe in San Luis Obispo for $167.
Former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Hayward, maligned for shoplifting $2,500 worth of clothes at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco, was precise in detailing who was at meetings and meals with her, and the topics they discussed. She also listed a $6,274 payment in 2011 to San Francisco-based Singer Associates. Consultant Sam Singer acted as her spokesman during her shoplifting crisis.