Back when flying was extremely expensive, California lawmakers would drive to Sacramento from wherever they were in the 770 mile-long state. In order to mitigate this large expense, a law was passed that gave legislators in California a $350 per month stipend to go towards a car purchase or lease for the office, free repairs, free gas, and free maintenance.
With the advent of affordable airfare, this has become unnecessary, but hte law has remained on the books until now. Lawmakers have been using it to, at the taxpayers' expense, inspect, repair, and upgrade their offices' cars just before leaving office and purchasing them.
One state senator, Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga, has his Chevy Tahoe's dents repaired, his power steering and brake systems replaced, and the whole thing detailed to the tune of $5,984 on the people's dime before leaving office. He then bought it using donated campaign funds for $12,681 and then turned around and sold it for $11,000 to a dealer. That's shady as hell. He's currently being investigated by the Fair Political Practices Commission due to the fact that even though the campaign paid for the SUV, it was registered to Dutton himself.
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[via Mercury News]