Down Mexico way

Democratic state senator Denise Ducheny, who chairs the powerful Senate Budget Committee, currently enmeshed in California’s fiscal meltdown, raised $11,821 for her so-called state officeholder account during the six months ending this June. Donations to the fund — which under state law can be used for such personal perks as travel and food, as well as consulting services, as long as used for an office-holder-related purpose by the candidate or his or her spouse — included $1000 each from the Agricultural Council of California, the California Association of Dental Plans, and the California Building Industry Association. Givers of $1500 each included the Wine Institute, Chevron Corporation, and CGI, Inc. The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians kicked in $3000. The Ducheny fund had already banked $44,435 from previous periods; during the first half of this year it spent a total of $36,268 on a variety of trips and restaurant meals. It also paid more than $17,495.35 to the Southern Group, a firm run by Al Ducheny, the senator’s husband. Travel-related expenditures included a $113 room at the Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. during April’s Council of State Governments meeting; a $145 stay at Las Brisas resort in La Paz, Mexico, in “preparation for the Legislative Forum of the Three Californias” on March 29; $472 at the Hotel Marina La Paz for the same purpose; $716 in airline tickets on Aeromexico to the event for both Ducheny and her husband; and $659 in airfare on Continental Airlines for Al Ducheny to a Border Legislators Meeting in Tampico, Mexico, in February. The Ducheny fund’s most favored eatery was San Diego’s own Athens Market Taverna, with 14 separate dines averaging about $60 each, for a total of $723.38. A total of $128.31 was spent on two meetings at the IB Forum Sports Bar in Imperial Beach, where the Duchenys live. The fund also paid out a total of $142.99 to Beachside Station in Imperial Beach, according to the filing.

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