Instead of the swanky fundraiser in San Diego’s Torrey Pines golf course for the state’s Democratic Party that was on his calendar, Senator Steinberg was in Land Park, holding a public meet-and-greet.
“I canceled the event,” he explained to about two dozen gathered constituents.
It is perhaps an irony that right now holding a public meeting in Land Park is more tasteful then a golf outing at the exclusive San Diego club.
“It’s a really good and well-done event in San Diego. I just felt the timing was such that it was important for me to be here today,” Steinberg said.
So instead of corporations and special interest paying $65,000 for a foursome, anybody could walk up and spend some time with the senator. It’s something he says he does regularly anyway.
But with the high-profile arrest of Democratic Sen. Leland Yee, charged with involvement in a gun trafficking scheme to raise campaign money, and with two other Democratic senators facing charges, has fundraising become a dirty word?
“The people who do my events and I, we do it above board and ethically. It’s a necessary part of running for the legislature, certainly leading the legislature,” Steinberg said.
And indeed the Democratic State Central Committee has still reportedly raked-in nearly $1.4 million in contributions from corporations and special interest in the last three months.
None of that money would be useful to Steinberg himself, at least not right now. He’s retiring from the Senate at the end of this year.
In addition to taking questions on a range of policy issues, Steinberg told the crowd gathered in Landpark Sunday that he had suspended Senate business on April 23, to give himself and his fellow legislators time to reflect on their troubled colleagues, and the ethics of public service.