Taxpayers have been footing the bill for legislative staffers to accompany legislators on political junkets, according to a report by The Sacramento Bee.
In a recent trip led by former Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, eight senators visited Japan to discuss high-speed rail, climate change and other topics. Senate officials at the time said the trip would be paid through the legislators’ campaign accounts.
The Bee found, however, that taxpayers spent $13,635 to send two legislative staff members with the delegation, and also paid for staff time involved in planning the trip.
This was not the first trip in which taxpayers paid expenses for staff to go on political trips. Since 2013, the California Legislature has spent approximately $192,000 in tax dollars for international travel by staff members to such locations as Paris, Brazil, Mexico City and Cuba.