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Cedillo takes shopping advice from Fabian Nuñez?

April 11th, 2009 · 25 Comments

The LA Times has a detailed article about California State Senator Gil Cedillo’s campaign expenses, and let’s just say that he likes the finer things in life. His champagne tastes give former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez a run for the money and remind us all how disgusted people were with Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin’s spending of RNC funds. Although I think that Sarah Palin’s expenses for her and her family still take the cake.

Cedillo is saying that no aberrations occurred and that he has complied with the law that says campaign spending must serve “a political, legislative, or governmental purpose.” That may be the case, but in dismal economic times, this kind of campaign spending doesn’t go over well with his donors and creates the impression that he is enriching himself and his aides at the expense of his supporters.

Robert Stern, head of the nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies says, “It sounds like he is using campaign funds to supplement his lifestyle.”

This story is particularly damaging to Gil Cedillo because he is in a race for Congress to represent California’s 32nd District, which was the seat left vacant by now Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. And Cedillo’s main opponent, Judy Chu, is rather economical in comparison. The LA Times reports:

“Cedillo’s spending, detailed in reports he filed with the secretary of state, contrasts with the frugal record of Judy Chu, his chief rival for the San Gabriel Valley congressional seat. A former Monterey Park assemblywoman elected to the state Board of Equalization in 2006, Chu has spent no campaign money on shopping or entertainment, and less than $5,000 on meals and travel over six years.”

According to the LA Times, over the course of six years in California’s State Senate, Cedillo has spent approximately $77,000 on restaurants, $29,000 on hotels and $21,000 on airline tickets.

The final kicker is how Cedillo’s Chief of Staff Dan Savage describes his boss as being “very into clothes.” (I wonder why Savage decided to advertise his boss’s penchant for garments…)

My thought is that Cedillo could certainly trim these travel and dining costs, which would free up more campaign money and build goodwill with the public and his donors. It should be noted that money collected for his congressional race is raised separately and subject to stricter campaign finance rules. Cedillo sells himself as a champion of working people having been a leader of SEIU, yet he lives large. I would imagine that much of his international travel could be cut and handled via webinar or Skype. In general, the trend of public servants and their staffers taking advantage of high end hotel stays and meals plagues both political parties and all ethnic groups. However, stories like this have more bite when it comes to Latino politicians and especially those who advocate on behalf of populations that don’t have much political capital such as the undocumented immigrant community.

It will be interesting to see how voters in California’s 32 district factor Cedillo’s campaign spending into their decision on who to vote for, if at all, come May 19.

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Tags: Fabian Núñez · Gil Cedillo · Sarah Palin · Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anna // Apr 11, 2009 at 10:18 am

    The Times must be afraid that Cedillo will win.

  • 2 WhatThe.. // Apr 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    “Campaign Funds/ Bribe Account”= “Enjoy, but Remember Who Owns You Account” Yes, this is how they do it! Look at me, I’ve got money and I’ve got power.

  • 3 Michaelr // Apr 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Just another self-serving public thief, looking to jump from the state trough and now feed off of the federal trough. And it is this public thief who publicly forgot that driving in California, is a privilege, not a right in his argument that illegal aliens should be issued California driver’s licenses. Now we are open to his narcissistic tastes, and all his Third World behavior financed by the taxpayer and those corporate entities all seeking public favors. The Reagan era of excess and public abuse is behind us. Why elect someone who emulates Fabian Nunez? Don’t we have enough well-dressed, publicly financed walking feces roaming Capitol Hill?

  • 4 theKaiser // Apr 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    And Cedillo boasts about all his expensive shopping sprees, to the Los Angeles Times no less. Who supports people like this? And the California State Senate didn’t condemn this man’s excess lifestyle? Do we really need another Latino politician that flaunts public theft? Why do we elect mounds of excrement like this man? Don’t we know it’s our tax dollars funding all this? All the Latino voters out of work and this public thief is bragging about living large on the public’s dime!

  • 5 Bearguez // Apr 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    This gives the impression that the voters in the 22nd California Senate district are incredibly ignorant. Does character have anything to do with one’s appeal of politicians? Because Gil Cedillo conveys all the sliminess’ of Fabian Nunez’s character, and then adds more smelly excrement to it. And I agree with Michaelr, qualifying and obtaining a California driver’s license is a privilege not a right by any means. The vast majority of drivers on California freeways can’t drive to save their lives, and Cedillo wants undocumented immigrants to have that privilege too. What kind of people voted for this guttural entity masquerading as a human being?

  • 6 Anna // Apr 12, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Re: “That may be the case, but in dismal economic times, this kind of campaign spending doesn’t go over well with his donors…”

    They’re the ones paying for it!

    I doubt he’s spending more than most other members of the legislature, but as a Latino he will be scrutinized more closely. The LA Times will create the appearance of illegality, even if there is no evidence to support it. That’s what they do.

    Arnold can take millions from his Wall St. donors, and receive no scrunity from the LA Times at all.

  • 7 DelToro // Apr 13, 2009 at 7:32 am

    I like how the times had to bring a Republican into the fold first before doing the story on Cedillo.

    How did I know that Anna would come to the defense of a latino. Oh poor latinos are picked on by the LA Times. The LAT is one of the biggest propaganda activist newspapers in FAVOR of everything latino. Illegal and legal. Please Anna peddle that BS somewhere else. Nobody is buying it.

  • 8 Sandogg // Apr 13, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Re: Anna “They’re the ones paying for it!”

    So, in other words, Cedillo is accepting bribes. How else can he legally accept bribe money, and then “payback” his donors, Indian Casinos and Labor Unions without any of the quid pro quo stigma.

    Cedillo doesn’t need to campaign, he usually runs unopposed.

  • 9 spinhater // Apr 13, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    No surprise that Sarah Palin had to be invoked in the first paragraph…have to get that anti-Republican diss in, regardless of the story. By the way, those funds were spent ON Palin, not by her. Apparently, some GOP handlers thought it was “unbecoming” of a VP candidate to wear clothes from K-Mart and Wal-Mart (as most of us normal people do). That being said…

    Anna, either you don’t read the LAT (or watch Fox News 11, for that matter), or you are being intentionally oblivious to fact that, in their articles, the only ones considered illegal are legal citizens.

  • 10 Anna // Apr 13, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Del Toro:

    Sorry, if the truth hurts. They do big stories on Latinos over meaningless things like a bottle of wine, but IGNORE the millions that Arnold and other politicians take from corporations.

    You guys get riled up over trivial matters and overlook the big things that actually affect your lives. You guys always fall for it.

  • 11 WhatThe.. // Apr 14, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    The two party system we used know, morphed into one party, the DemoRepublican party, which feeds off the same trough, check they’re campaign donations. The jokes on us! That bottle of wine just bought a donor legislation.

  • 12 spinhater // Apr 14, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Anna, we’re talking about $125,000 in personal expenditures by Gil! That is one gigantic bottle of wine!!!

  • 13 Anna // Apr 14, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Re: “By the way, those funds were spent ON Palin, not by her.”

    That was another non-story. Clothes are a legitimate campaign expense.

  • 14 WhatThe.. // Apr 14, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    The campaign donation fund is legit because it was legislated as legit. Think out of the box, a cat is a cat and a horse a horse, the campaign donation account is a bribe account, of course. From shoe laces to a steak dinner its all the same. You use it, someone will ask you for that favor one day.

  • 15 Anna // Apr 14, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Then they should report on the connection between campaign donations and voting records. Oh, but the powerful people they front for might be exposed. Can’t have that!

    Instead they would rather create smear campaigns against the people they want out of office. No facts or thinking required. Just insinuations of illegality, and lots of quotes from people saying “it appears that…”

  • 16 WhatThe.. // Apr 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    In a democracy, people in leadership roles are there to serve at the pleasure of the people., for their ability to represent the concerns of the majority. “It appears that” these self entitled liberties can be construed as excesses to the common struggling public.” Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette lost their heads due to excesses. In other words, it just doesn’t look good, “it gives the appearance” that a leader has lost touch with their voting constituents.

  • 17 Anita // Apr 15, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    A good majority believe, through the story, that the funds Cedillo used were STATE funds. This confusion comes from Fabian’s use fo state funds to purchase Louie bags and bottles of wine. The LA Times article is um, a bit misleading.

    These are campaighn funds, which are constantly being raised for future elections. The expenses were not for any illegal activity. Most of these funds were given to charity. Trips were state related travel with other politicians. Senator Cedillo is in compliance with strict campaign finance laws. So all in all, he’s probably saved the state some monies by using the campaign funds instead of state funds for travel related and dignitary meetings. Somethings that other politicians haven’t done.

  • 18 ben // Apr 15, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    And that’s what they caught! Think of all the money and deals that they have not caught. Sad, very sad. He deserves to go no further in politics. Go back to the private sector and work again in an honest job like the rest of us.

    No need to sling defamatory words and labels. Just send him back to the normal working life that we all do every day. Work like a normal citizen. He deserves nothing less and nothing more.

  • 19 Update on California’s 32nd Congressional Race // Apr 17, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    [...] of March reveal that Chu has raised the most money, followed by Cedillo and then Pleitez. We have addressed the piece (what some are calling as hit piece) that came out regarding Cedillo’s campaign [...]

  • 20 Paloma Alegre // Apr 20, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Ben,
    Cedillo graduated from college at 40, worked for SEIU, where he got canned, then he lucked out and became an assemblyman. Great advice but he is to old to go out and get a real job and I thought he knows how to work. In 2010 he will be retiring with a $175,000. a year pension for the rest of his life. Paid by the taxpayers.

  • 21 Si se puede // Apr 20, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Need more information about what really is going on in Sacramento with Latino elects.

  • 22 WhatThe.. // Apr 22, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Just follow the money, most of legislature couldn’t survive in the privated sector and many of them have worked for the unions, living off the sweat and hard work of others, and now they are living off the sweat and hard work of the taxpayer. Cedillo, Villaraigosa, Nunez aren’t the sharpest and all were prior union hacks. Conflict of interest? Well our the State of California is broke.

  • 23 Dante // May 18, 2009 at 6:22 am

    At this point, I hope everybody recognizes that the expendeture criticism of Cedillo was just election season libel. He treated campaign staff to dinners on campaign (not tax) dollars. They appear to be nice dinners, but that just makes him a generous boss who let his cosmetic guard down the same way that Chu did giving tax-breaks to her doners and Plietez did with the hand signs.

  • 24 Mid-week updates // May 20, 2009 at 10:25 am

    [...] Tuesdayhour on KPFK yesterday, Gil Cedillo effectively shot himself in the foot with his campaign spending and negative mailers, costing him the election to Judy Chu. Chu will face a runoff for the [...]

  • 25 Judge Sotomayor’s relatively modest lifestyle // Jun 6, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    [...] Seneca once mentioned that materialism is pretty apparent in the Latino community, and I would have to agree. Sometimes we see this played out with working class people spending thousands of dollars on extravagant quinceañera celebrations or an emphasis on the car culture instead of investing in other things that might be more enriching. And of course, the US, up until the recent recession, has been very material and consumer driven in the sense that we were encouraged to buy bigger homes, newer cars, and more of this or that. We have even witnessed some of the materialism catch up with elected and appointed politicians when their expenses are examined. [...]

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