Brown is the first to file spending reports

Campaign finance filings by candidates and campaign committees are due today, by midnight. So far, only Attorney General Jerry Brown has posted his among gubernatorial candidates, and they’re the picture of austerity: He has $14 million in the bank after transferring $7.7 million from his attorney general account and adding another $2.1 million in cash raised since the first of the year — and spent only $144,000 in that period. With three paid staffers, zero paid advertisements and an enforced hoarding mentality, frugality is the watchword.

Brown’s largest expenditure was $21,200 for a fund-raising event; he also spent $20,000 on a focus group, and $15,000 on “research.” And we all know now that Steve Glazer, his campaign manager makes $15,000 a month — a discount compared to the $50,000 monthly stipend Whitman pays her top consultants.

We know that Whitman has contributed $39 million of her own money to her campaign treasury, but we haven’t seen how much of that she’s actually spent. With all those ads out there, here’s betting she’s spent much of it, and will probably have to dig into her own pockets soon enough.

Also looking out for Whitman GOP rival Steve Poizner’s reports: it will show relatively modest spending (granted, everything’s modest next to Whitman), which indicate’s he hasn’t veered from his strategy of waiting until he believes voters are tuning in before he drops real money. Down by a six-to-one margin, he’s either displaying the kind of discipline of a black belt in karate, which he has, or a mad bomber, Strangelovian-style.

Also waiting on the reports of the two independent committees, Level the Playing Field 2010 and Working Families 2010. Judging by their slow on-air start, their reports will likely have a lot less bite than bark.

Here’s the link to Brown’s spending reports on the state’s campaign finance Web site:


Among the interesting contributions to Brown: Jazz musician Herb Albert ($25,900), former Gov. and Brown’s ex-chief of staff Gray Davis ($2,500, though his money was given after the reporting period closed on March 17), Robert Shapiro, one of the attorneys in the O.J. Simpson case ($1,000); E&J Gallo Winery ($13,900), Coca Cola ($5,000), Rite Aid ($5,000), Eli Lilly ($10,000). Peter Lowy of Westfield America in Los Angeles came close to maxing out with $51,600 (the maximum contributors can give for the primary and general election cycles is $51,800). Los Angeles-based Bikram’s Yoga College of India ($51,800) shelled out the extra $200 to be done with it.

Steven Harmon