California's political watchdog agency has begun ramping up an online service that will itemize concert, sporting event, banquet and entertainment tickets distributed through cities and counties.
The Fair Political Practices Commission launched the program this month with 2012 ticket distribution by the cities of San Diego, Ontario and Dana Point, along with the counties of Alameda and San Francisco.
All cities and counties that engage in ticket distribution are required to report to the FPPC, however, so more local governments are expected to be added to the online site soon, officials said. Businesses can provide tickets to local government for distribution to nonprofit groups, elected officials or other officials.
With the push of a button, for example, the FPPC site allows Californians to see that San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders received tickets through the city for a regional chamber of commerce annual dinner, an economic trends breakfast by the San Diego Business Journal, and a New Year's Banquet of the Yantai Friendship Society.
The San Diego Chargers football team provided more than three dozen tickets in December, at $98 apiece, for distribution by the city to three nonprofit groups, the FPPC website shows.
Cities and counties have been required since 2009 to publicly disclose the value and recipient of any tickets they distribute, but the information has not always been easy to find on local government websites, said Lynda Cassady, an FPPC division chief.
The FPPC service is designed to make it easier for Californians to locate local data and compare it to other cities and counties, Cassady said. Initial disclosures can be found here: http://www.fppc.ca.gov/index.php?id=626
State agencies also are required to report any tickets they receive and hand out, but typically, they are not involved in such distribution. Sports, concert and other tickets given by teams or interest groups to legislators, for example, are reported as gifts to the lawmaker, not as gifts to the state.