If the gifts given to state lawmakers are any indication, the San Francisco Giants are much more popular than the Los Angeles Dodgers. But neither baseball team attracts the interests of politicians quite like a golf match.
The Los Angeles Times did the yeoman’s work, sifting through 2015’s Form 700 disclosures among California’s elected officials and found that $3,690 in tickets were gifted to lawmakers for baseball games, mostly for the Giants and the team’s minor league affiliate the Sacramento River Cats (who conveniently play in the state capital). As the Times pointed out, only two lawmakers attended Dodgers games (it’s unclear if they arrived in the 3rd inning and left by the 7th inning).
Of that total, $1,833 were spent on Giants tickets and only $938 on Dodgers games.
The $3,690 was out of some $32,000 in gifts related to sporting events, with $16,551 tied directly to golf, according to the Times, “including green fees, travel to tournaments and golf balls.”
So who’s footing the bill for these perks?
[jump] Mostly the Northern California District Council of Laborers and PG&E, which both sent San Francisco’s Assembly members, Phil Ting and David Chiu, to home baseball games at AT&T Park so they wouldn’t have to fork over insane amounts of money on StubHub. Other Bay Area lawmakers attending Giants games were Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord; Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell; Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo; and Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont.
It’s important to note that lawmakers are limited to accepting gifts of $460 at a time, unless travel expenses are needed. In such cases, the Times reported that the gifts must come from a 501(c)(3) charitable organization or the politician must be traveling to speak somewhere or participate in a panel event.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, seems to be the biggest sports fan in the Capitol building, or the least shy about taking a handout. In 2015, he attended $4,713 worth of golfing events and Warriors basketball games.
But what about political Moneyball in the East Bay? Sadly for Coliseum-goers, no political work appears to be going on far East Oakland: Not a single Oakland A’s ticket was gifted to a lawmaker.