Lisa Guerrero, the centerfold-worthy "hardest-working sports reporter" per the Los Angeles Times who now does ambush reporting for the syndicated Inside Edition program, recently confronted representatives John Campbell (R-Irvine) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove).
Each was asked to justify high office rents taxpayers shell out to their respective Orange County landlords, who are also big campaign contributors.
The report is comical, not because Inside Edition is a daytime tabloid program for which Guerrero has done some insipid reporting as exposed on E!'s The Soup. She's actually solid when it comes to her on-camera interviews with the Members of Congress, who both come off like baffoons.
Up first is Campbell, whose $8,128 district office rent is among the highest in Congress. When Guerrero puts her microphone under his nose after he exits his sports car in the parking lot at 20-40 Pacifica in the Irvine Spectrum, Campbell explains land in his district is among the country's most expensive for housing and office space.
But when Guerrero asks for a tour, Campbell refuses--until she points out to the fiscal conservative who regularly pounds his fist on the congressional podium to administrative overspending and deficits that taxpayers pay for his office, so why shouldn't they get to see what they are paying for?
"All right, you can do that," Campbell says sheepishly with a shrug.
Guerrero then leads her camera team through the lavish, 3,600-square-foot space with eight offices and a conference room--for five government workers.
She then drops this bombshell: The building owner's executives and employees have lavished Campbell with $21,555 in contributions in recent election cycles. (Guerrero does not name the landlord, but it is likely the Irvine Co.)
Campbell is shown later in the report saying he probably could find a place in his district where the rent is cheaper, but he--or, he should say, we--is paying more for the security the building provides. Hmm, wonder if he'd favor healthier, more expensive, federally funded school lunches because they are safer for poor children?
Honestly, Campbell comes off better than Sanchez, whose 3,000-square-foot offices cost taxpayers $7,500 per month. And no, her district is not located in one of America's most expensive places.
Sanchez's landlord, also unnamed, has ponied up $24,500 to her campaigns over the years, as Guerrero reports.
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When the reporter approaches the congresswoman in a building lobby, Sanchez greets Guerrero as though they are old friends. When the reporter opens with "Why are you overpaying on rent by more than 50 percent?" Sanchez answers, "I don't believe I am, actually."
Sanchez is next shown totally blowing off Guerrero as if the reporter is invisible, ignoring the brunette beauty walking on one side of her with a microphone to talk and make crazy-lady gestures to an aide walking on the congresswoman's opposite side.
The piece ends with an election-law expert saying any time elected politicians charge government expenses paid to friends or campaign contributors, "it raises red flags." In Orange County? We'll see . . .