State lawmakers' vehicle leases questioned

State lawmakers' vehicle leases questioned »Play Video
BAKERSFIELD Calif--The automobile leases of dozens of state lawmakers are being brought under scrutiny because of the state's budget problems. The subject of state-funded cars for lawmakers was brought to light last year when then State Senator Roy Ashburn was pulled over for a DUI in his state-issued Chevy Tahoe.

The state Assembly has purchased eight vehicles this year and more than 40 vehicles in 2010.

Eyewitness News obtained a list of vehicles purchased by the Assembly and the Senate. Nearly $259,000 in tax dollars has been spent in the last year.

The way the program works is that the state buys the vehicle, the monthly cost comes out of the Assembly budget. New lawmakers are spending between $83 and $109 per month.

In the Senate, Jean Fuller and Michael Rubio declined vehicles.

Kern County Assembly-members Shannon Grove and David Valadao also declined, opting to drive their own.

Only Connie Conway, who represents a portion of southeastern Kern County, accepted a Toyota Highlander Hybrid. A spokeswoman from her office said Conway drove 40,000 miles on her own vehicle during her first year before opting for a state car. Conway also has the largest geographical district in the state.