Travelgate: Timberlake Concert on Your Dime

By Mike Luery
|  Tuesday, Mar 3, 2009  |  Updated 5:38 PM PDT
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Travelgate: Timberlake Concert on Your Dime

Did you taxpayer dollar pay for a trip to SoCal to see this man in concert?

The Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs is generating quite a controversy over her travel expenses.

Over the weekend, the L.A.Times reported that Carrie Lopez charged taxpayers for her flight from Sacramento, where she works, to her home in Los Angeles.  

The reason for the flight is what has her in hot water.  She was in LA to attend a Justin Timberlake concert with her daughter.

Ironically, DCA regulates dozens of different professions ranging from automotive repair to cosmetology.  It is known to be  aggressive in protecting consumers from everything from unlicensed contractors to doctors who harm the public. 

So how can the director justify this very questionable travel expense? We put that question to Carrie Lopez Tuesday during a press conference at the department of consumer affairs. Her response, "I'm not here to answer the questions, except for about the campaign."

Lopez wanted all the attention on her consumer awareness campaign, not on her travel expenses.

Her office released this statement:

"Part of my responsibility as Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs is to make state government more accessible to the people in every part of California, and that requires me to travel throughout our great and diverse state. I am proud to serve the people and consumers and help ensure their concerns are heard in Sacramento. I hold the trust of the people of California as sacred and I am proud of my record of accomplishments."

The statement is what is known as a "non-denial denial." She's denying nothing but not admitting anything, making her comment essentially non-responsive.
 
Full Disclosure: I worked for the Dept. of Consumer Affairs from 2000 - 2003 as the Deputy Director of Communications. The Department has some top notch investigators who work hard to protect the public from illegal activity and unprofessional conduct.
 
If I were still working there, I'd advise the Director to be more forthcoming and explain what happened and why. People sometimes make mistakes and the public is often very forgiving, but not when you build a stone wall around yourself because then it looks like a cover up. Open up, take the hit and then move on.

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