According to Mother Jones, for years BP has used a secret phone line to provide California state officials with free tickets to events at its Arco Arena in Sacramento:
For more than a decade, BP has operated a hush-hush phone line that California lawmakers can call to request box seats to NBA games and concerts at the Sacramento stadium named after its West Coast subsidiary.
In the past five years, BP has given state officials more than 1,200 complimentary tickets to the Arco Arena, hosting them in its corporate suite to see Sacramento Kings games, World Extreme Cagefighting matches, and Britney Spears and Lil Wayne concerts. Getting the tickets is as easy as calling the BP ticket request line, an exclusive, unpublished phone number that appears to exist for the sole purpose of granting freebies to lawmakers, regulators, and their staffs.
The mechanics of this scam sound like a spy novel, or a drug deal:
You make a request, leave it on the voicemail, and at some date the tickets either magically appear or they don’t,” says a legislative consultant who gave me the ticket line’s number and spoke on condition of anonymity. “They don’t talk to you; you just see ’em or you don’t.” The ticket line’s message was taken down sometime in the past week, shortly after I began my reporting.
Tickets just “magically appear or they don’t”. Well, then. It’s okay, because we never talked to anyone.
Besides, I’m sure that all those hard-working politicians and bureaucrats in Sacramento deserve those freebies. After all, they’re doing such a great job running the state.
Come to think of it, World Extreme Cagefighting is a good description of the California legislature.