Hayashi, Corbett Raked In $2,700 Last Year In Corporate Gifts

By Steven Tavares

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi spent an all-expense weekend in Beverly Hills on the tab of the California Dental Association, while Sen. Ellen Corbett went to Game 3 of last year’s National League Championship Series on the dime of State Farm Insurance. Both East Bay legislators together received over $2,700 in gifts last year from corporations, according to a database released by the Sacramento Bee.

Hayashi has always forged a tight bond with health providers. Most of the contributions to her past campaigns have been funded largely by hospital trade unions and physicians’ associations. In 2010, Hayashi received $1,601.57 in reported gifts, according to state campaign finance reports.

Last November, Hayashi received airfare, lodging, car service and dinner totaling $960.63. She spent the night at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

The assemblywoman, who is termed-out after 2012, is known to have expensive tastes, if not an eclectic palette. Like last year’s disclosure, Hayashi expenses and dinners with lobbyists tend to gravitate towards more haute cuisine than the local Olive Garden. She had dinner at San Francisco’s noted dining establishment, Boulevard, on Sept. 2  and paid for by Intuit. Less than a month later, the tech firm deposited $1,500 into Hayashi’s campaign for a largely unopposed race for assembly last fall.

Hayashi also dined earlier in the year at the Waterboy Restaurant in Sacramento with her consultant Ross Warren at GTech’s expense and again one month later at Ella’s Dining Room & Bar. GTech paid $466.02 for both get-togethers involving Hayashi and Warren, her frequent companion.

Corbett received in $1,145.18 in gifts last year. Her most lavish gift was worth $230 from State Farm Insurance for tickets to the Giants’ home playoff game Nov. 19.

Most of the gifts received by the legislators consists of dinners, cocktails and oddly, gift boxes filled with rice from a group representing rice producers.

The haul, though, represents a significant drop from past years when both Hayashi and Corbett received trips to Spain totaling over $10,000 to study water policy, high speed rail and infrastructure. The junket was funded by California Foundation for the Environment and the Economy. While our lawmakers were learning about Europe environmental policy, they apparently were teaching the Spaniards about California-style budget strategies. Along with Portugal, Ireland, and Greece, Spain (PIGS) is one of the continent’s economic laggards.