State Sen. Ellen Corbett's expense-paid business trip to Spain this week will likely place her on the list of state legislators with the highest amount of travel gifts for this year. The 12-day junket to the Iberian Peninsula features two commissioners of the California Public Utilities Commission and seven Democrats, including Corbett and East Bay assemblywoman Joan Buchanan and Nancy Skinner.
It's the same business trip funded by the California Foundation on the Environment and Economy that Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi participated last year. That trip amounted to a nearly $10,000 campaign gift that ranked as the sixth highest among Sacramento lawmakers.
The trip, according to the Sacramento Bee, is funded by the non-profit CFEE along with three labor unions. Some critics contend the junkets are nothing more than fancy holidays involving mouth-watering Jamon Iberico and belly-bursting plates of Paella than business trips involving Spanish ingenuity in environmental policy.