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After fighting public disclosure, Legislature to release spending records

August 26, 2011 |  3:26 pm

Under growing political and legal pressure, the Legislature plans to release lawmakers' spending records this afternoon, information that party leaders had argued was protected from public disclosure.

The current expenditures for all members of the Assembly and Senate, in addition to legislative committees, will be posted online at 4 p.m., according to multiple legislative sources. The Assembly will post its records on the chamber's website.

The move is an apparent concession to calls from lawmakers and media outlets to release spending records in the wake of a feud between Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles).

After Pérez labeled Portantino a profligate spender last month and slashed his office budget, Portantino denied the accusation and requested the current spending records of all 80 members of the lower house. Assembly administrators rejected the lawmaker’s request, along with ones from several newspapers, including The Times.

Officials cited provisions in the Legislative Open Records Act that protect legislative memoranda and correspondence from public disclosure.

The Times and the Sacramento Bee have since sued the Legislature to compel the release of members’ office budgets, arguing that those provisions do not apply.

It is unclear how detailed today's online records will be.

-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento