County Supervisor Ron Roberts last week gave another $125,000 in grant funding to the San Diego World Trade Center, the nonprofit business group that has repeatedly sent him on Asian trade missions.

Roberts has now given the group a total of $979,000 in taxpayer funds since 2001. The latest was given to the trade center’s Asia desk for “planning, implementation and marketing of the programs of the Asia desk.”

The group has paid sent him on six Asian trade missions. The latest, in March, sent him to China and Vietnam. Though the group was prohibited by state law from specifically giving the trips to Roberts, it instead quietly earmarked the trips for Roberts.

The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission has since made it illegal for public officials to receive gifts of travel. That rule takes effect July 1.


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