How do California officials get into sporting events for free?

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California lawmakers and other elected officials received nearly $900,000 worth of gifts last year from trade groups, unions, law firms and others with interests in Sacramento… all of it apparently legal.

The swag included foreign trips, restaurant meals, bottles of wine and family excursions to Disneyland. It also included sporting events, lots and lots of sporting events.

State pols attended the deciding game of last year’s playoff series between the Dodgers and the New York Mets and the NBA Western Conference championship in Oakland, among other high-profile events. And they played a whole bunch of golf.

The entire rundown is included in a new article by LA Times politics reporter Javier Panzar, who says officials have also found ways to get around a state law that limits gifts from individual owners to $460.

“One way to do it is to report it as a travel expense, so if you are traveling to deliver a speech or be a part of a panel, or if that travel is paid for by a non-profit then you can exceed the limit,” Panzar says. “Another way to do it is to split the cost of tickets. Kevin de Leon, the state Senate President Pro Tem, went to see the Dodgers play the Mets last year in Game 5 of the National League Division Series. The ticket cost $556, but he split it between a political consulting group and a Los Angeles law firm.”