Now that State Sen. Gil Cedillo is running for Congress, his campaign expense reports get more attention. What popped out to the LAT's Michael Finnegan was the expensive meals at top-end L.A. restaurants such as Patina ($1,203), The Palm ($1,373) and Cicada ($964.) Also reflected is Fabian Nunez-style, high-end spending on hotels and gifts while on international trips, paid for by his campaign contributors.
Cedillo has relied on campaign donors to bankroll his shopping and travel, along with hundreds of restaurant meals and tickets for the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles Opera and Clippers basketball games.
Like many lawmakers, Cedillo collected contributions from a host of groups that lobby for favors: labor unions, Indian tribes, and the pharmaceutical, casino, telecommunications, insurance and banking industries, among others. Since 2003, Cedillo has collected $1.2 million, even with no viable election challengers....
All told, Cedillo has spent about $77,000 on restaurants, $29,000 on hotels and $21,000 on airline tickets over six years in the Senate. (That does not include tens of thousands of dollars spent on fundraising events at restaurants, hotels or banquet halls.)
Cedillo says it all is legit and that the meal tabs often cover other legislators and dinner guests. This is the part that has to sting the most: "Cedillo's spending...contrasts with the frugal record of Judy Chu, his chief rival for the San Gabriel Valley congressional seat....Chu has spent no campaign money on shopping or entertainment, and less than $5,000 on meals and travel over six years."