SACRAMENTO (AP) — Assembly Democrats will be enjoying golf and fine food as they are being lobbied by top telecommunications donors during their annual Pebble Beach fundraiser, known as the Speaker's Cup, which began Friday.
Donors are paying up to $65,000 for the chance to mingle with Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, and other legislative Democrats at the world-renowned golf course in Monterey County. The fundraiser runs through Sunday.
AT&T is among the most generous donors to members of the state Legislature. Reports filed with the secretary of state's office show the company also has spent about $2.5 million on lobbying so far during the two-year legislative session that began in 2011.
Tickets for the Speaker's Cup start at $25,000, which buys golf for one on Saturday, a hotel room, dinner for two and unspecified "commemorative gifts." For $65,000, donors get golf for four, hotel rooms, dinner for eight and one spa treatment per day for each non-golfer or guest.
The Los Angeles Times reported in April that AT&T spent more than $225,000 on last year's event, which raised more than $1 million for Assembly Democrats. Contributors received gift bags that contained a new iPad with a thank-you note signed jointly by Perez and AT&T's chief of government relations, the newspaper reported.
Perez's press secretary, John Vigna, said one of the speaker's main jobs is to elect Democrats to the Legislature so the party can advance its agenda.
"That requires resources to ensure that candidates are competitive in the fall, which is why the Speaker is holding this event. All donations to the event will of course be reported as required by law," Vigna said in an email Friday.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, held a similar event at Pebble Beach in March to benefit Democrats in that chamber.