The campaign of Dave Jones, Sacramento Assemblyman and Democratic nominee for state insurance commissioner, today accused the insurance industry of stepping up its funding of his opponent, Republican nominee and Clovis Assemblyman Mike Villines.
Jones’ campaign issued a news release noting the JobsPAC put another $1,051,956 this week into an independent-expenditure campaign opposing Jones and backing Villines.
Actually, I think it’s exactly half that mount. JobsPAC’s disclosures in the Secretary of State’s database show an initial report of $525,958.50 in IE spending against Jones, and then an amended report of the exact same amount in IE spending for Villines, so I suspect that’s the real number. (You can see the initial and amended filings here.) Still not chump change, though.
(UPDATE @ 4:20 P.M.: Parke Skelton, Jones’ campaign consultant, insists the $1,051,956 figure is accurate, and that JobsPAC split it out 50 percent for Villines and 50 percent against Jones. He also says his ad time buyer confirmed almost $1.19 million in total independent expenditure ad buys by JobsPAC so far – in the LA, Sacramento, San Diego and Stockton markets – and he says the difference is probably that between gross and net costs.)
And either way, that’s atop $280,100 from JobsPAC last week, and a $2 million ad buy by the California Chamber of Commerce (which co-chairs JobsPAC) on Villines’ behalf three weeks ago.
Jones’ campaign notes the insurance companies have poured almost $1.3 million into JobsPAC since late September, including:
“This is obviously a ruse,” Jones’ consultant Parke Skelton said in the release. “JobsPAC is being used to hide the fact that insurance companies are trying to buy the office of Insurance Commissioner – they want to regulate themselves.”
But Villines campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Gibbons says the campaign neither has coordinated with JobsPAC nor has any knowledge of their activities or contributors.
“Dave Jones, on the other hand, has knowingly solicited campaign funds from a range of special interests whose issues and revenues are directly affected by the Department of Insurance,” she said, citing reports of fundraisers with lawyers and others connected to the insurance industry. “He has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from attorneys representing clients before the Commissioner of Insurance, and similarly has taken hundreds of thousands from health care interests he directly affected as Chair of the Assembly Health Committee and who he now wants to bring into the regulatory orbit of the Department of Insurance. Over his political career, Jones has raised over $1 million from attorneys and law firms alone.”
Jones also has support from independent expenditure committees funded mostly by public employee unions and trade unions, which also have contributed directly to his campaign, Gibbons continued, accusing him of carrying the unions’ water by supporting a single-payer healthcare system.