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Munger gives to GOP, firefighters give to Dems

Charles Munger Jr., the Palo Alto physicist who has been the single largest bankroller of California’s redistricting reform, gave $12,000 last Monday to the San Mateo County Republican Party.

Munger, the son of billionaire Warren Buffett’s investment partner, was the largest financial backer ($1.367 million) for 2008’s Proposition 11, which created the Citizens Redistricting Commission to take state legislative reapportionment out of the Legislature’s hands, and the proponent and bankroller ($12,157,442,83) for 2010’s Proposition 20, which widened the commission’s purview to include congressional districts.

Munger’s party affiliation has never been a secret, but some of his redistricting-reform allies bristled at the idea that his motivation for pursuing the issue was partisan.

In other political money news, the CDF Firefighters Small Contributor PAC – representing the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s firefighters – gave $100,000 to the Democratic State Central Committee of California last Tuesday. And the California Professional Firefighters PAC gave $52,005.31 to the committee last week. Why the big money? Is it the increased attention to first-responders’ salaries? Or the growing debate over whether or not there’s an urgent need to reform public employee pensions?

Other big spenders from last week:

The California Independent Petroleum Association put $49,500 into its own PAC last Thursday.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s independent expenditure committee gave $35,000 to the Democratic State Central Committee of California last Tuesday.

The California Credit Union League PAC gave $32,500 to the California Republican Party last Wednesday.

The Coalition for Reliable & Affordable Electricity – a committee of “concerned taxpayers, homeowners” and PG&E – put $25,450.13 last Tuesday into the committee that supported last June’s Proposition 16, the PG&E-conceived effort which would’ve required a two-thirds vote of the local electorate before a public agency could enter the retail power business. The measure failed, with only 47.2 of voters supporting it, but apparently there are still bills to be paid.

The California Association of Realtors’ California Real Estate Political Action Committee (CREPAC) gave $25,000 last Tuesday to the California Republican Party.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.