Individual Republican Assembly members began releasing their current office budgets Thursday in the wake of a call by the GOP caucus for the Assembly to make them public for all members.
"The people I represent would want to know what their money is spent on -- it's their money," said Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield.
Joining Grove in releasing documents were Assembly Republicans Kristin Olsen of Modesto, Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks, and Allan Mansoor of Costa Mesa.
All four are freshmen, and three of them are projected to have a surplus by year's end: $46,278 for Donnelly, $27,174 for Grove, and $25,090 for Olsen. Mansoor is projected to have a deficit of $1,226, the newly released records of month-by-month spending show.
"This should not be a big deal," Olsen said. "Taxpayer money should be public."
Donnelly agreed, saying, "We haven't done anything really worthy of note, except honor and respect the people. I think that every member of the Legislature, regardless of party, ought to do the same."
Office expenditure records are up-to-date and include projections through November for items ranging from postage to telephones and district-office utility costs.
Because of the Assembly's accounting methods, office budgets do not detail all dollars spent per legislative seat.
Salaries and per diem for the Assembly members themselves are not included in office budgets, for example.
Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, sent a letter to the Assembly Rules Committee on Wednesday requesting the immediate release of current budget records for all Assembly members.
Conway did not release her own office budget Thursday, however, saying such records should be released en masse by the Rules Committee, which oversees administrative matters for the Assembly.
The Rules Committee's refusal to release such records prompted a lawsuit this month by the publishers of the Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times in an attempt to force disclosure.
Only one Democrat, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, has released his office spending records.
Portantino, of La Canada Flintridge, released his office expenditures weeks ago after claiming his budget had been cut by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez for casting the lone Democratic vote against this year's state budget.
Portantino sparked the dispute over records by calling on the Assembly to release monthly office budget and expenditure projections for each member.
* Updated throughout the day to add quote by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield; add quote by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly R-Twin Peaks; and to add Assemblyman Allan Mansoor to the list of those releasing records.
* Corrected at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 23 to show that Mansoor is projected to have a $1,226 deficit rather than a surplus.