Update: Ian Calderon says the lobbyists who attended his wedding were asked not to give gifts. See below.
A veil of sadness fell over the state capitol two weekends ago as its most handsome legislator, 30-year-old State Assemblyman Ian Calderon, took himself off the market by marrying Elise Lau.
Former Assembly Speaker John Perez presided over what was, by all accounts, a lovely ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.
“It was an amazing and interesting wedding,” says L.A. County Democratic Party chair Eric Bauman. “The turnout was really a cross-section of the political world.”
Sacramento culture being what it is, the invite list included at least a few lobbyists, and the guests were asked to give cash as gifts.
One of those lobbyists was Paula Treat, “considered a go-to lobbyist on tribal gaming issues,” according to Capitol Weekly, “not only for her principal client, Pechanga, but also because she knows, minute by minute, what everybody else is up to.”
Treat didn't return our phone calls (sniffle sniffle) but we did happen upon a Facebook post of hers:
“Great time with everyone at the Ian & Elise Calderon wedding (including bowling barefoot at midnight),” she wrote, shortly after leaving her new iPad mini at the Burbank airport. Don't worry! They found it and returned it the next day!
Another high-powered lobbyist, Ted Toppin, confirmed through a spokesman that he was at the wedding and “had a nice time, thought it was a beautiful ceremony.”
Bauman says the guest list was “mostly elected officials, labor people. Some staffers. I can’t say that I saw many lobbyists.” Rumor has it there were at least three or four other lobbyists there, though none would call us back (sniffle sniffle).
That rumor won't shock anyone in Sacramento, where politicians, lobbyists and staffers are unusually and unabashedly close.
Except that given who Ian Calderon's relatives are, you might expect him to be a bit more careful. Last year, his uncles Ron and Tom Calderon, both state legislators, were indicted on corruption charges.
Ian has followed in the footsteps of his father, Charles, also a former legislator, who has not been indicted. In 2012 at the age of 26, Ian, a former surfing champion and realty TV producer, ran for state assembly in the 57th District, one of those weird districts east of L.A. that includes South El Monte, Whittier, Norwalk and the City of Industry.
He won, and was narrowly re-elected in 2014 even as his two uncles were awaiting trial.
But back to the wedding. What do you give as a wedding gift for the scion of a political dynasty that has everything?
The happy couple was helpful enough to register on Zola.com, and whimsical enough to write their wishes in verse. They asked their guests not for china plates or kitchen appliances.
They asked for cold, hard cash:
Isn't that cute? That's not sarcastic! It really is cute — isn't it? That is, compared with all the ways you can ask for money, this is one of the cuter ways.
Of course, there were lobbyists in attendance, and these lobbyists were presumably contributing to the Calderons' new house fund, which works a bit like a Kickstarter campaign:
Lobbyists are allowed to give elected officials wedding gifts. But they must be disclosed by the politician in a quarterly report. Since the quarter just began on Oct. 1, Ian Calderon has until the end of the year to reveal how much he hauled in. But legal questions aside, the whole thing seems a bit shady, no?
“Inviting lobbyists to your wedding and encouraging them to help you buy a house is definitely pushing the envelope,” says Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause.
“It is behavior like this,” Feng adds, “that makes us question whether we should allow for these personal gifts” from lobbyists to California public servants.
A spokesman for Ian Calderon declined to comment on what his new bride does for a living, what she's like, how many lobbyists attended their wedding, how much money they got for their new house, or anything else (sniffle).
Update, 12:30 pm: Ian Calderon tweets to us from his honeymoon to say there were about seven lobbyists at the wedding, and that he asked them all not to give gifts – cash or otherwise.
1/2 @hillelaron on my honeymoon and saw your article. Lobbyists that were there I knew long b 4 elected. I asked them all to not give a gift
— Ian Calderon (@IanCalderon) October 21 2015
2/2 @hillelaron and they respected our wishes and did not give a gift.
— Ian Calderon (@IanCalderon) October 21