Senate Special 37: Asm. Don Wagner does it again! 3rd year at infamous Maui junket
For the third consecutive year, Asm. Don Wagner has attended the infamous Maui junket, hosted by special interest groups — including the state’s powerful labor unions.
According to recently released state gift disclosure reports, Wagner accepted $2,921.19 in unspecified travel gifts to attend last November’s annual Maui bash hosted by the Independent Voter Project. The brainchild of former lawmakers turned lobbyists Steve Peace and Jeff Marston, the Independent Voter Project’s annual Maui bash provides the Capitol’s biggest special interest groups with a legal method of circumventing the state’s gift limits.
The event’s organizers have said in the past that part of the bill for the luxurious Fairmont Kea Lani, “Hawaii’s only all-suite and villa luxury oceanfront resort,” is paid for by the state’s largest and most powerful labor union, “the correctional officers labor union CCPOA.”
Wagner Campaign Ad: “Sacramento doesn’t exist to allow politicians some lavish lifestyle”
But, just because Wagner has attended the lavish Maui conference for three consecutive years hasn’t stopped him from campaigning against Sacramento’s “lavish lifestyle.” In an ad for his campaign for the 37th State Senate special election, Wagner attacks Sacramento politicians for that very thing.
“Sacramento doesn’t exist to allow politicians some lavish lifestyle,” Wagner, the prohibitive favorite for Orange County’s hypocrite of the year, says in an ad posted on YouTube. “I’m running to solve problems and to bring common sense back to the golden state.”
Wagner’s “lifestyles of rich and famous” in 2012 & 2013
In 2013, Wagner initially refused to answer questions about his attendance at the Maui junket. However, state gift reports disclosed in March 2014 confirmed that Wagner accepted $3,011.65 to attend the 2013 Maui junket.
In 2012, Wagner accepted $2,179.79 in accommodation, meals, and beverages from the Independent Voter Project, according to his annual financial disclosure form. That made Wagner the odd man out of the Orange County legislative delegation in 2012 – as the only Orange County legislator, Republican or Democrat, at the union-sponsored conference, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Wagner’s frequent attendance at the Maui confab puts him at odds with his hometown newspaper, which opined that the trip shows “how out of touch with ordinary Californians Sacramento has become.”
Wagner is running against former OC Supervisor John Moorlach for the March 17th special election for State Senate to succeed now Congresswoman Mimi Walters.