|Where it comes from, nobody knows|
Kibitzer Jon Golinger, who last month compiled Ethics Commission travel gift reports
to show that the Chinese Chamber gave $19,506 in travel gifts to politicians, isn't dropping the subject.
Chamber bigwig Rose Pak has been quoted as saying that Golinger's figures were overblown and that she overstated the amount of money the Chamber contributed to a 2009 Asia junket attended by Supervisors David Chiu, Carmen Chu, and Eric Mar. She changed her story and said it was two dozen businessmen who came along on the junket and helped pay their way, Pak told The Bay Citizen.
Golinger, who's had a career working for well-known politicians including former supervisor Aaron Peskin and Chiu, has set up an organization called San Franciscans for Clean Government. He says he is curious as to whether junkets wined and dined politicians to get what they wanted -- a quick hearing and favorable votes.
"It would be interesting to know who paid for meals, hotels, and such," Golinger told The Snitch
. "If you have a project before the city that needs a permit, and you decide to take Mayor [Ed] Lee out to lunch, you can normally only spend $420 per year, and he has to report that."
But if you're on a slow boat in China with a local pol, who is to say whether or not you spent $1,000 on wine and exotic food, Golinger suggests.
"If what Ms. Pak suggested on this trip was true, those payments should have been reported individually," he says. "If developers were on the trip paying for supervisors' travel and food, don't they have to say who was giving the money?"