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Assemblyman Anthony Portantino has lost his bid to view documents that he contends will prove that his office budget was cut by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez for voting against this year's controversial state budget.

The Assembly rejected a Legislative Open Records Act request by Portantino's lawyer to see how much each Assembly member has been authorized to spend this year, and any additions or subtractions that have occurred.

In its reply to Portantino, the Assembly argued that such documents are exempt under a provision covering legislative "preliminary drafts, notes or legislative memoranda ... as well as correspondence of and to individual members of the Legislature and their staff."

Portantino vowed Monday to propose legislation that would force disclosure by the Assembly.

"I'm going to challenge my colleagues: Do they stand for transparency or behind secrecy?" he said.

Portantino was informed by a letter from the Assembly Rules Committee, shortly after the controversial budget vote, that his office spending was projected to be in deficit by $67,179 this year and would be cut immediately.

A Democrat from La Cañada-Flintridge, Portantino contends that he was unfairly and inaccurately blamed for overspending. Only the Rules Committee has the authority to approve expenditures and, while it has the authority to cut his budget, the panel has no right to blame him for its doing so, Portantino said.


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