Nonprofit Group Funds Lawmakers’ Hawaii Junket

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November 16, 2010; Source: Sacramento Bee | Who wouldn’t want to travel to Hawaii if someone else paid for it—even if the trip weren’t all for play? Still, one would hope that the offer of an all-expense-paid junket aimed at California lawmakers and underwritten by a nonprofit supported by donations from powerful special interest groups would be met with a resounding “no thank you.”

Apparently—optics aside—that isn’t the case for nearly two dozen state legislators who are staying at Maui’s Fairmont Kea Lani resort, which according to the Sacramento Bee, is a “a luxurious haven in one of the most scenic places on earth.” The legislators’ airfare and lodging was paid for by the California Independent Voter Project, or CAIVP, a nonprofit public policy group. When not off by themselves to enjoy Hawaii’s scenery, lawmakers are meeting with lobbyists from energy, pharmaceutical and a police officer’s union, all which contribute to CAIVP.

The purpose of the event, says Steve Peace, one of the organizers, is “to expose legislators to a more in-depth conversation about serious issues. It also is an opportunity for the members to get to know each other on a more personal level.” While the 22 state legislators might not enjoy basking in the glow of the Sacramento Bee‘s coverage of their trip, the rest of the 120 California lawmakers are probably glad they stayed home.–Bruce Trachtenberg