California's Controller Steve Westly was the 23rd employee of online auction giant eBay back in 1997, but it turns out he's not the politician to whom the company has given the most campaign cash.
That would be Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Yesterday, eBay gave the governor's California Recovery Team $50,000. It's the second time the Silicon Valley company has supported Schwarzenegger, after contributing $15,000 during the 2004 campaign season.
So what did Westly get from eBay? $10,000 this summer and $2500 last year.
Westly, who made his fortune as an eBay executive, just happens to be in the running for Schwarzenegger's job in 2006. And while he once supported some of the Schwarzenegger agenda, he's now more often a critic.
The amount of money spent on lobbying the California Legislature tops the amount spent in any other state, according to a new report from the non-profit Center For Public Integrity.
Using data from state records, researchers for the organization have put the 2004 total spent on lobbying Golden State legislators at a whopping $212,695,872. That's up from just over $191 million spent in 2003.
The total money spent on lobbying efforts in Texas was the next closest, but still about $50 million below the totals spent here in California.
And keep in mind that California has 120 legislators, compared with 181 in Texas and 212 in New York... so the average amount per legislator is higher here.
Although a handful of small states don't track money spent to lobby lawmakers, the CPI report puts the total reported for lobbying costs nationwide at almost $983 million. By my calculations, that would mean 22% of all the money reported in the U.S. for lobbying state legislatures is spent right here in Sacramento.
Of course, California wasn't tops in all categories. The report says there are 9 lobbyists for every California legislator... which actually puts us at #7. New York, ranked #1, has 18 lobbyists per legislator.
You can read the report here.