Three days after a statewide travel advisory urged all Californians against non-essential out-of-state travel, Sen. Bill Dodd attended the Independent Voters Project Conference in Maui, HI. This decision alone suggests that he considers politicians to be exempt from following the many COVID restrictions and protocols that are asked and quite frankly expected of his constituents.
Likewise, it appears that he failed to recognize his potential conflict of interest in accepting the perks of free airfare, food and lodging at a luxury resort that were funded in full by large corporations; political interest groups; and, the California Correctional Peace Officers union.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle “… there were fewer than 20 lawmakers from three states in attendance. The remainder of the guests included legislators’ spouses and other family members, as well as representatives of businesses and trade groups that pay thousands of dollars to gain access to lawmakers who may later be voting on bills affecting their industries.”
And, “ … critics see the conference as a prime example of the cozy relationship between special interests and lawmakers, who participate in policy panels in the morning and then have the rest of the day free to enjoy the island.”
Paraphrasing Sen. Dodd’s response to a Press Democrat inquiry, “… it’s business as usual in my job as a lawmaker and I will not apologize for doing my job.” In contrast, less than 5 percent of legislators from three states found that luxury trip “business as usual” and even the governor apologized for his poor judgment over his lunch with lobbyists at the French Laundry during the same time frame.