02 March 2006

SB 4 author & AEG quid pro quo?

Remember SB 4, the state bill that would have allowed the state to fund numerous ballparks, arenas, and concert halls? It appears that its author, State Senator Kevin Murray (D-Culver City), is under investigation for receiving $20,000 in December from AEG. Murray and AEG already have close ties going back 20 years, and AEG supported the bill as it went through the legislature. Since the bill didn't pass in its final, weakened form, it's hard to tell if this was just a "thank-you-for-trying" quid pro quo gift or an actual payment for legal services Murray did for AEG. A Chronicle article compares this case with Governor Schwarzenegger's dealings with fitness magazines.

If this was a case of graft, one can only imagine how much bigger a scandal this would be had the bill passed during the regular session. There's still a flicker of hope for it through reintroduction, but the process neutered SB 4 to the point that there's no advantage in using its funding/approval system over more familiar local funding methods.