As Woolsey Fire raged, some CA lawmakers were at Maui junket with utility companies

While the Woolsey Fire raged in Southern California, some state legislators were in Maui on a junket with utility companies and lobbyists.

The junket was held at the five star Fairmont Kea Lani hotel.

"These 12 legislators have gotten over $630,000 from the three utilities in campaign contributions. Traditionally these trips are paid for by the sponsor. They are comped," said Jamie Court, the president of Consumer Watchdog.

A report from The New York Times and evidence provided to Eyewitness News by Consumer Watchdog found the utility companies are after a bailout to help them recover from their role in California's wildfires, which could bankrupt them.

The annual junket was hosted by a group called the Independent Voter Foundation. Executives from PG&E didn't end up attending because of the Camp Fire, but Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric were there.

"Customers of these utilities should not pay when the companies themselves fail to modernize their equipment or fail to clear the brush around utility lines," said Court.

According to Consumer Watchdog, the utility companies are hoping the California Legislature passes a law where customers would pay for the cost of the fires with higher utility bills.

Legislators in attendance included Assembly members Tom Daly, Frank Bigelow, Bill Brough, Jim Cooper, Heath Flora, Jim Frazier, Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Freddie Rodriguez, Blanca Rubio and the Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, as well as senators Hueso and Cathleen Galgiani, according to the Independent Voter Project, which organized the event.

Eyewitness News reached out to all 12 representatives, but did not hear back.

Consumer Watchdog has sent a letter to the leaders of the California state Senate and Assembly asking for new rules that would require legislators to disclose all trips they attend on their websites. The lobbyists in attendance would also be listed.

"All of the Wailea 12 should say that they're going to reach in their own pocket, not their campaign contributors' but their own pocket, and pay for this trip because they were wrong to be there," said Court.
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