SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Four Republican lawmakers broke ranks with legislative leaders and released their complete office budgets, defying a committee controlled by the Assembly speaker that has said such documents are not public records.  
Freshmen GOP lawmakers Shannon Grove of Bakersfield, Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks, and Kristin Olsen of Modesto released their office spending records to The Associated Press because they said such records should be open.
Later Thursday, Assemblyman Allan Mansoor of Costa Mesa posted his monthly spending records on his Assembly website.
"I'm just doing what I feel in my heart is right, just trying to make sure the public is getting what they're supposed to be getting. It's their money," Grove said Thursday. "I would hope that the entire Assembly would do the same."
A feud over access to the budgets has embroiled members of the state Assembly and shined a light on the Legislature's longstanding, secretive practices.
The first three members of the minority party who released their records spent less than $400,000 each, not including their pay. The figures are modest compared with the budgets of Democrats and more senior lawmakers, who sometimes get hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional funds based on their committee assignments and leadership posts.

Each lawmaker in the Assembly is given an official base budget of $263,000. They also get an additional allocation that is not reflected in some of the documents.
Grove and Olsen's allocations this year are $60,000 each, while Donnelly's and Mansoor's are $50,000. The money goes to help pay for their staffs.
Grove, Olsen and Donnelly said the documents detailing their budgets were written by legislative leaders and highlight the lack of transparency in the Legislature, since many costs are obscured.
For example, district office rent, travel to and from district offices and the capital, and the costs for those who use state vehicles appear in separate documents than the ones that detail staff salaries and Capitol expenses.
For Grove and Donnelly, those costs are around $30,000 each so far this year. For Olsen, the figure is about $50,000.
The issue arose from a feud between Assembly Speaker John Perez and a fellow Democratic lawmaker but has since erupted into a debate over the Legislative Open Records Act, a 1975 law written by lawmakers that allows the Legislature to decide what records it will release or keep secret.
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada-Flintridge, claims Perez, D-Los Angeles, slashed Portantino's office allowance when he refused to vote for the state budget. As a result, his staff members face a six-week layoff this fall.
Perez accused Portantino of overspending. In response, Portantino sought details of lawmakers' budgets from the Assembly Rules Committee, which oversees legislative records. The panel, however, said current budget documents are not subject to the law because they could include preliminary, unofficial drafts.
Instead, the committee released documents that present an incomplete and at times contradictory picture. The figures show some rank-and-file Republican lawmakers with more lavish budgets than the Assembly speaker or the Democratic heads of powerful committees.
The Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee have filed a lawsuit seeking to force disclosure of up-to-date records.
The individual office budgets are not the only area of disparity in the Assembly, where Democrats who control the Legislature determine much of the spending.
Separate documents, posted at Perez's direction, show the salaries of Democratic caucus staff members total about $9.9 million a year. By comparison, staff members of the Republican caucus make a total of $4.9 million.
Caucus staff members help their respective leaders promote legislative agendas.
In all, at least 58 legislative staffers make more than $120,000 a year. Nearly 20 of them work for the Democratic caucus, and four work for the GOP caucus.
Some Democratic lawmakers with high-profile committee assignments spend more than $1.6 million on salaries alone. Because Democrats have not released complete budgets, a thorough comparison is impossible.
The budget documents released to the AP show Grove's highest paid employee makes $48,000 a year, Donnelly's top earner is paid $55,615, and Olsen's highest earner is paid $96,000.
A separate AP request for budget details is pending in the state Senate.
Since lawmakers returned from summer recess this week, many from both parties have been embroiled in an internal debate over what records should be made public. In response to the controversy, Perez on Monday announced he is creating a task force to study the issue. He asked Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, chairwoman of the rules committee, to report back by January.
Perez's spokeswoman, Robin Swanson, did not return a phone message Thursday seeking comment.
Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, under pressure from her own caucus, sent a letter late Wednesday to Skinner asking for the immediate release of accurate, up-to-date budget figures.
She said it is essential that Californians have access to information about how their tax dollars are being spent "in order to judge our performance and hold us accountable."
On the floor of the state Assembly Thursday, Portantino praised the Republican lawmakers who took the politically risky step of releasing their office budgets. In an interview, he said he would continue "to press for complete transparency and end this silliness and move on to solving the problems of the state of California."
Portantino has submitted a proposed resolution that would force leaders to adopt budgets in public meetings and create a more uniform system for doling out funds. The rules committee declined to hear it on Thursday.