Lawmakers Collected Per Diem Pay on Days They Skipped Work

 By the Numbers: $2,376

California’s 120 state lawmakers cost taxpayers a pretty penny to keep on the payroll: six-figures apiece in annual salary plus benefits. But the vast majority of legislators pad their pay with $176 in per diem compensation for lodging and food—perks virtually nonexistent in the private sector—even on days they don’t show up to work.

Last week, the Associated Press published a list that shows how much per diem each state senator and assembly member collected on days they were absent in the latest legislative session. Among Bay Area-based members of the state Legislature, the worst offender—by far—was Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose). From December 2014 to August this year, she collected $2,376 over 20 absences.

Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) claimed $1,106 for six days he skipped work. Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) took $344 over four missed days while state Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) pocketed $176 for two days off. Only two South Bay lawmakers refused to collect per diem payments for days they didn’t work.

State Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose), who is facing a re-election challenge from Campos, and Assemblyman Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park) both missed a single workday and charged taxpayers nothing for their no-shows. Beall spokesman Rodney Foo said the reasoning is simple. “If you don’t work, you shouldn’t get paid,” he said of his employer’s philosophy. “He adheres to that. That’s always been his policy.”

Below is a list of local lawmakers and how much they collected in per diem pay, according to the report. To view the list of all 120 legislators, click here.

Jim Beall (D-San Jose)—one absence, $0

Nora Campos (D-San Jose)—20 absences, $2,376

Kansen Chu (D-San Jose)—six absences, $1,106

Evan Low (D-Campbell)—four absences, $344

Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont)—two absences, $176

Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park)—one absence, $0


  1. The VAST MAJORITY of lawmakers at all levels of government have a sense of entitlement which costs the taxpayers big bucks. How about transportation–do they get a mileage allowance or the whole car to use as they please at taxpayer expense? When she was Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi famously required an entire 737 jet TO HERSELF to fly her back and forth from DC to SF at TAXPAYER EXPENSE every week! BTW: the link does not get you to a list of all 120 legislators, just to another story about the practice. I’m sure this will be corrected without an acknowledgment of the error, as is customary @ SJI.

  2. I would be thrilled to see these people collect per diem for every day of the year if they would simply promise to stay away from the legislature. This state needs no more of their help in engineering its ruin.

  3. Kansen is dirty to the core. It is time for labor to wake up and stop supporting people like him and Nora. I got a flyer for a moive night that Kansen hosted which taxpayer paid for. What a waste of money.

  4. Link to the other 120 lawmakers seems to be heavily redacted, was there a link to Hillarys Email on that?

  5. Back to your racket, I see.

    We get it. You have a personal issue with (Latinas? Women in general? Anyone who doesn’t suck up? — who knows!) a dedicated public servant. And you have gone to great lengths to smear her just because.

    Your second paragraph epitomizes who deceitful you are. “Last week, the Associated Press published a list that shows how…” BUT IF YOU CLICK the underlying link, you find no list. You don’t even find the Campos name. I would express shock, but I’ve seen this rodeo before!

    I don’t doubt the list exists. Nor do I doubt that Campos took off 20 days during that period. As you well know, her father died during that period.

    It is really disgusting that you and your allies continue to pummel Ms Campos for the fact that her father died. That is truly a low blow. Casting aspersions on someone because they are grieving the loss of a parent demonstrates the values from which you “report,” and why people really only learn about you and not the subjects of your reporting in these articles.

    There is a reason why Ms Campos’ name did not appear in the AP article to which you linked. No doubt, they realized why Campos had taken time off. Clearly, the AP does not share your prejudice against Ms Campos.

    But to attack her because her father died? That’s sick. That’s truly sick!

  6. Death is no reason to submit a phony bill to the taxpayers. That’s called cheating and she would have had to gone out of her way to submit such a false bill.

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