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Legal scandals lead Dems to cancel golf fundraiser

Chalk up one immediate victim of the ethical and legal scandals sullying the state Senate: Golf.

State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Sen. Kevin de Leon, who’ll succeed Steinberg in the top spot at the end of this year, issued a joint statement Tuesday announcing they’ve cancelled this weekend’s Pro Tem Cup – the annual Democratic party fundraiser at which donors give tens of thousands of dollars to join legislative leaders on the links at Torrey Pines in La Jolla – “in light of the very recent and extraordinary breaches of the public trust by three individuals.”

C’mon, guys, SAY THE NAMES! Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood, convicted of voter fraud and perjury; Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, indicted on bribery charges; and Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, charged last week with trading favors for money and conspiring to traffic arms.

So, no golf!

“In its place, we intend to spend this weekend in our districts having an open and public conversation with our constituents about the work ahead for this Legislature and for this state,” Steinberg and de Leon said in their joint statement. “It’s important that our constituents understand that, despite the appalling acts of a few individuals who – on their own – put self-interest ahead of the public interest, the Senators who are here are here to serve, to do the hard, unglamorous work of fixing tough public-policy problems, and – most important – to do it the right way.”

And that means putting the putters away. Steinberg and de Leon said the modern campaign system makes fundraising “an occupational necessity, but Senate Democrats have always prided themselves on doing it ethically, appropriately, and in full adherence to every rule and regulation governing public disclosure.

“The Pro Tem Cup has long been a successful, signature example of this,” they said. “But these are unprecedented times and they demand that we take a step back and take stock of how we all do the people’s business and balance it against the demands of running for office.”

The lawmakers said Senate leadership in coming weeks will conduct a “rigorous review of existing campaign finance laws and our own internal fundraising practices – and make recommendations on where we can improve as a caucus and a state, with a focus on when, where and how we raise campaign dollars and how we increase public transparency.” They’ll also schedule a public hearing to discuss campaign finance “the constitutional limits on reform.”

“Make no mistake: Senate Democrats fully intend to strengthen our productive, progressive majority this election year and have no intention of unilaterally disarming in terms of campaign resources,” Steinberg and de Leon said. “But this is time for a reality check. And, while the Legislature as a whole cannot be held responsible for the bad acts of three individual members, we do bear a high and profound responsibility to do all we can to repair the excruciating breach of public confidence they left behind.”

Posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
Under: California State Senate, campaign finance, Darrell Steinberg, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Leland Yee | 9 Comments »

Money update: SD10, AD15, AD16, AD25 & AD28

Here’s how the money is piling up (or not) in races for some of the Bay Area’s open state legislative seats; all figures are as of March 17.

10th STATE SENATE DISTRICT
Mary Hayashi (D) – $690,733 cash on hand; no debt
Roman Reed (D) – $72,336 cash on hand; $58,034 debt (incl. $40k loan from candidate)
Bob Wieckowski (D) – $152,440 cash on hand; no debt
Peter Kuo (R) – $109,594 cash on hand; $7,541 debt (incl. $5k loan from candidate)
Audie Bock (NPP) – no report

15TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Elizabeth Echols (D) – $140,341 cash on hand; $28,159 debt (incl. $15k loan from candidate)
Clarence Hunt (D) – $30,950 cash on hand; $43,611 debt (loan from candidate)
Sam Kang (D) – $68,800 cash on hand; $13,918 debt
Pamela Price (D) – $20,020 cash on hand; no debt
Tony Thurmond (D) – $98,953 cash on hand; $35,331 debt
Richard Kinney (R) – no report
Eugene Ruyle (P&F) – no report
Bernt Rainer Wahl (NPP) – no report

16th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Newell Arnerich (D) – $66,823 cash on hand; $30,000 debt (loan from candidate)
Steve Glazer (D) – $429,608 cash on hand; no debt
Tim Sbranti (D) – $126,443 cash on hand; $27,817 debt
Catharine Baker (R) – $139,965 cash on hand; $1,886 debt

25th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Kansen Chu (D) – $201,723 cash on hand; $6,458 debt
Teresa Cox (D) – $65,186 cash on hand; $60,136 debt (incl. $58k loan from candidate)
Armando Gomez (D) – $230,622 cash on hand; no debt
Craig Steckler (D) – $123,480 cash on hand; $8,600 debt (incl. $5,100 loan from candidate)
Bob Brunton (R) – no report

28th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Evan Low (D) – $332,916 cash on hand; $2,036 debt
Barry Chang (D) – no report
Michael Hunsweck (R) – no report
Chuck Page (R) – $1,760 cash on hand; $2,000 debt (loan from candidate)

Posted on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, California State Senate, campaign finance | 7 Comments »

No love for GOP in statewide race finance reports

Republicans are taking a drubbing in trying to raise money for California’s statewide elections, according to campaign finance reports that were due Monday.

Monday was the deadline to file reports for Jan. 1 through March 17, and there wasn’t much good news for the GOP. That might not be surprising, after state GOP Chairman Jim Brulte said recently that statewide races won’t be a priority for his party this year, given that only a few are even competitive (and he wouldn’t say which ones).

Even gubernatorial contender Neel Kashkari seems to have ended his honeymoon with contributors early. Though he said in February that he had raised $976,000 in his campaign’s first two weeks, the report he filed Monday indicated he has raised only about $1.34 million total so far – a signficant slowdown after that first burst, and a pittance next to incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown’s $19.7 million war chest.

So, here’s a sampling of how it’s shaking out as of now; all figures below are as of March 17, and I’ll be updating as reports come in.

Governor
Jerry Brown (D)(i) – $19,747,924 cash on hand; $0 debt
Neel Kashkari (R) – $903,478 cash on hand; $93,807 debt
Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount (R) – $8,184 cash on hand; $19,832 debt
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) – $10,766 cash on hand; $149,068 debt

Lt. Governor
Gavin Newsom (D)(i) – $1,915,093 cash on hand; $30,315 debt
Ron Nehring (R) –
George Yang (R) –

Attorney General
Kamala Harris (D)(i) – $3,164,966 cash on hand; $5,044 debt
Ronald Gold (R) –
John Haggerty (R) –
David King (R) –
Phil Wyman (R) –

Secretary of State
state Sen. Alex Padilla (D) – $614,426 cash on hand; $73,900 debt
state Sen. Leland Yee (D) – $134,556 cash on hand; $48,088 debt
Derek Cressman (D) – $77,317 cash on hand; $192,781 debt
Pete Peterson (R) – $1,638 cash on hand; $84,913 debt
Dan Schnur (NPP) – $260,441 cash on hand; $64,390 debt

Controller
Assembly Speaker John Perez (D) – $1,792,681 cash on hand; $6,089 debt
Brd of Equalization member Betty Yee (D) – $100,530 cash on hand; $35,672 debt
David Evans (R) –
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin (R) –

Treasurer
Controller John Chiang (D) – $2,037,770 cash on hand; $376 debt
Greg Conlon (R) –

Insurance Commissioner
Dave Jones (D)(i) – $1,578,714 cash on hand; $1,777 debt
State Sen. Ted Gaines (R) – $32,000 cash on hand; $12,451 debt

Superintendent of Public Instruction
Tom Torlakson (i) – $581,588 cash on hand; $4,624 debt
Marshall Tuck – $454,600 cash on hand; $65,668 debt
Lydia Gutierrez – $6,163 cash on hand; $21,865 debt

Posted on Monday, March 24th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance | 8 Comments »

Jerry Brown rakes in some Silicon Valley cash

Gov. Jerry Brown’s re-election campaign reported almost a third of a million dollars in Silicon Valley and Bay Area campaign contributions Tuesday.

Among those listed on the filing as having made contributions Monday:

Venture capitalist Reid Hoffman, Mountain View – $54,400
Michelle Yee (Hoffman’s wife) – $54,400
Angel investor Ron Conway, Danville – $54,400
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Santa Cruz – $27,200
Patty Quillin (Hastings’ wife) – $27,200
California Teachers Association, Burlingame – $27,200
TechNet California PAC, Los Gatos – $17,000
Qualcomm Inc., San Diego – $10,000
Attorney Jon Streeter, Berkeley – $10,000
Attorney John Keker, San Francisco – $10,000
Venture capitalist Nicholas Pritzker, San Francisco – $10,000
Venture capitalist Joseph Pritzker, San Francisco – $10,000
Qatalyst CEO Frank Quattrone, Los Altos Hills – $10,000
Denise Foderaro (Quattrone’s wife) – $10,000
Former U.S. Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C. – $1,000

Perhaps not coincidentally, Democratic rainmaker and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on Monday reported a $20,657.82 “in-kind contribution of fundraising event expenses” for Brown’s campaign.

Posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | No Comments »

Draper puts $750k into ‘Six Californias’ measure

The venture capitalist who wants to break California into six states has put his money where his mouth is.

Well, some money, at least. Tim Draper of Atherton gave $750,000 to his “Six Californias” committee on Wednesday, according to a report filed Thursday with the Secretary of State’s office.

That’s not chump change for us ordinary folks, but it’s not a huge percentage of Draper’s sizable personal fortune. Nor is it nearly enough by itself to bankroll the paid petition circulation that would be needed to gather 808,000 signatures by mid-April in order to put the measure on this November’s ballot.

Nice down payment, though, especially given that when asked on Monday how much he was willing to spend on this, Draper had replied, “as little as possible.” He also had said he knew several other people who were eager to contribute to the measure, but he refused to name them; so far, Draper remains Six Californias’ only donor.

Posted on Friday, February 28th, 2014
Under: ballot measures, campaign finance | 2 Comments »

CA17: George Takei to raise money for Honda

Rep. Mike Honda is trying to take his campaign fundraising to warp speed with a reception next month featuring actor and internet sensation George Takei of “Star Trek” fame.

George TakeiThe March 20 reception in San Francisco – location known only to those who RSVP – seeks anywhere from $50 for basic entry to $1,000 for a host committee level or $2,600 for an “Oh Myyy! Giver,” a nod to Takei’s renowned catchphrase.

Honda, D-San Jose, could definitely use a boost – he was out-raised in every quarter of last year by his Democratic challenger, former Obama administration official Ro Khanna of Fremont. Dr. Vanila Singh, a Republican from Fremont, is also in the 17th Congressional District race.

The hosts include venture capitalist Andrew Rappaport and his wife, Deborah; Ted Fang, president and executive director of the AsianWeek Foundation and a former editor and publisher of the San Francisco Examiner and AsianWeek; Yahoo! employee and Democratic activist Regina Wallace-Jones; i-Human Patients CEO Norm Wu; Palo Alto City Councilman Marc Berman; personal injury attorney Dale Minami; business attorney Quyen Ta; Four Freedoms Fund senior program officer Henry Der; Realtor Pam Rodgers; and UC-Hastings law professor Carol Izumi.

Takei, 76, might be as famous now for his social media presence and activism as for his iconic role as Mr. Sulu in the original “Star Trek” television series and related movies.

Posted on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 4 Comments »

Padilla touts ‘blackout period’ for fundraising

California lawmakers would be prohibited from raising campaign funds in the final 100 days of a legislative session, under a state Senate bill announced this week.

Alex PadillaIt’s one of four campaign-reform bills put forth by state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Van Nuys, who perhaps not coincidentally is a candidate for Secretary of State, which among other things is the state’s chief elections officer.

Padilla’s other three bills would tighten campaign contribution reporting requirements; prohibit candidates or officeholders from having more than one campaign committee for a state office at any one time; and require public disclosure of campaign communications.

Amending the Political Reform Act of 1974 requires a two-thirds vote of each legislative house plus Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, Padilla noted.

“Clearly, I cannot do this alone. I will need the support of my colleagues and the governor,” he said. “I believe that the reforms I am proposing will provide a clearer view of the source and use of campaign money, and reduce the likelihood of an unseemly overlap of public policy and campaign contributions.”

SB 1101 would emulate similar laws in 29 states by creating a fundraising “blackout period” of 100 days before and seven days after the end of a legislative session, during which a member of the Legislature could not solicit or accept campaign contributions. That way, Padilla reasons, that lawmaker couldn’t take money during critical budget votes and at the end-of-session rush when all sorts of last-minute “gut-and-amend” measures are up for votes.

SB 1102 would require contributions of $100 or more to be electronically reported within 24 hours during the 90 days before an election and within five business days during the rest of the year. For now, contributions of $5000 and above must be reported electronically within 10 days and contributions of $1000 and above must be reported within 24 hours within 90 days of an election. The requirement also would apply to independent expenditure committees supporting or opposing candidates for state offices, and to statewide ballot measure committees.

SB 1103 would prohibit an officeholder or candidate from declaring candidacy and raising money for more than one state elected office at a time; current law allows multiple simultaneous committees, which could be used to cumulatively raise far more than established campaign contribution limits.

SB 1104 would require all campaigns to electronically report all campaign-funded communications – mass mailings, slate mailers, and advertisements supporting or opposing a candidate or measure – that they do within 90 days of an election to the Secretary of State’s office within one day. Outside of the 90-day window, they’d have to be reported within five days.

“While our current system does provide full disclosure, it lacks timely full disclosure,” Padilla said. “Current law governing disclosure keeps the public and the press in the dark much of the year. Denying the public and the press timely disclosure fuels distrust.”

More, including a rival candidate’s critique, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 21st, 2014
Under: campaign finance, Election reform, Secretary of State | 3 Comments »

CA17: Khanna rips Honda’s PAC, out-of-state $$$

Congressional candidate Ro Khanna’s campaign is calling attention to incumbent Rep. Mike Honda’s increasing collection of contributions from people outside the 17th Congressional District and from political action committees.

honda.jpgCrunching numbers from reports filed with the Federal Election Commission last week, Khanna’s campaign noted in a news release Tuesday that Honda, D-San Jose, raised almost $79,000 from PACs in last year’s final quarter, bringing his total 2013 PAC haul to about $313,000 – about 28 percent of his total contributions in the 2014 cycle so far.

Also, more than half of Honda’s individual contributions in the last quarter – about $117,000 – came from outside California, bring his total percentage raised from outside the state in this sycle to 47 percent. About one-fourth of his individual contributions in the fourth quarter came from the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. area.

Khanna – a Democrat and former Obama administration official from Fremont – has refused to accept any PAC contributions and has received about 80 percent of his contributions from within California. Khanna raised about $425,000 in the last quarter of 2013, while Honda raised about $251,000; Khanna finished the year with $1.97 million cash on hand, while Honda had $623,000 in the bank.

Ro Khanna“We believe these fundraising numbers tell an important story,” Leah Cowan, Khanna’s campaign manager, said in the news release. “One candidate is increasingly reliant on out-of-state and special interest contributions. The other will be answerable to the individuals he represents.”

A spokesman for Honda’s campaign declined to comment Tuesday.

But Kyle Kondik, an expert on congressional elections at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said seeing an incumbent raise more money from outside the district and from PACs than his challenger “strikes me as pretty common.”

“Members of the House can develop a national constituency based on their record in Congress, which a challenger lacks,” he said. “A lot of national contributors won’t want to rock the boat unless they really dislike the incumbent or believe he or she will lose. … Also, while the sources of contributions are definitely worth reporting, I don’t think that attacks by one candidate against the other for contributions are all that meaningful, unless the candidate got a contribution from a very shady/controversial source.”

One other thing I noticed in the FEC reports. If you really want to get down to the grassroots, consider that all contributions of less than $200 are added together and reported as a lump sum under the line item “unitemized contributions.” Khanna’s unitemized contributions for 2013 totaled $42,421 while Honda’s totaled $88,824 – so Honda raised twice as much in small contributions as Khanna did.

Posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Under: campaign finance, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 8 Comments »

Looking ahead to SD9 in 2016

Looking beyond this year’s elections, Friday’s campaign finance deadline offered an early glance at what might be one of the East Bay’s hottest contests of 2016.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who is term-limited out at the end of this year, intends to run for the 9th State Senate District seat from which Loni Hancock, D- Berkeley, will be term-limited out in 2016. So is former Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, another Democrat now serving as Oakland’s deputy mayor.

Reports filed Friday show Skinner raised $162,509 and spent $39,519 in the second half of 2013, leaving her at year’s end with $188,005 cash on hand and $6,382 in debts. Swanson in the same period raised $23,100 and spent $16,956, ending 2013 with $8,133 cash on hand but $9,220 in debts.

Swanson launched a campaign to challenge Hancock in 2012, but withdrew; Hancock responded by endorsing him to succeed her in 2016.

Posted on Friday, January 31st, 2014
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, campaign finance, Loni Hancock, Nancy Skinner, Sandre Swanson | 1 Comment »

Money matchups: AD15, AD16, AD25 & more

We’re hard at work crunching campaign finance reports today, and while we’ve featured a few in the story for tomorrow’s print editions, here are a few other notable Bay Area races to watch.

15TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

  • Democrat Elizabeth Echols of Oakland, former regional administrator for the Small Business Administration, raised $120,102 – including a $15,000 loan from her own pocket – and spent $70,192 in 2013’s latter half; her campaign had $120,136 cash on and $23,439 in debts at year’s end.
  • Democrat Sam Kang of Emeryville, general counsel for an economic justice advocacy group, raised $83,070 and spent $38,714, leaving him with $112,453 cash on hand with $2,936 in debts.
  • Democrat Andy Katz of Berkeley, president of the East Bay Municipal Utilities District’s board, raised $47,287 and spent $30,107, leaving $66,164 cash on hand with $7,250 in debts.
  • Democrat Tony Thurmond, a former Richmond councilman and former West Contra Costa County School Board member, raised $62,728 and spent $47,569, winding up with $55,767 cash on hand and $13,213 in debts.
  • Democrat Cecilia Valdez, a San Pablo councilwoman, hasn’t filed a report yet.
  • Republican Richard Kinney, a San Pablo councilman, hasn’t filed a report yet.
  • 16th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT:

  • Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer, a Democrat who was political adviser to Brown’s 2010 campaign, raised $111,718 and spent $20,987 in 2013’s second half, finishing the year with $329,074 cash on hand and $705 in debts.
  • Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, a Democrat, raised $105,590 in 2013’s second half while spending $118,381; his campaign had $94,203 cash on hand as of Dec. 31, with $16,022 in debts.
  • Attorney Catharine Baker, a Republican from Dublin, raised $123,920 in 2013’s second half – including $4,100 from her own pocket – while spending $18,436; her campaign had $109,989 cash on hand as of Dec. 31 with $4,505 in debts.
  • Danville Vice Mayor Newell Arnerich, a Democrat, hasn’t filed his report yet.
  • 25th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT:

  • San Jose City Councilman Kansen Chu, a Democrat, raised $66,015 and spent $22,153 in the second half of 2013; he had $201,695 cash on hand as of Dec. 31 with $1,843 in debts.
  • Milpitas Councilman Armando Gomez, a Democrat, raisd $168,499 and spent $22,168 in 2013’s second half; his campaign had $155,431 cash on hand and no debt at the year’s end.
  • Former Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler, a Democrat, raised $111,167 in the second half of 2013 while spending $7,999; his campaign had $104,289 cash on hand as of Dec. 31, with $9,717 in debts.
  • Ohlone College Board of Trustees member Teresa Cox, a Democrat, raised $90,772 and spent $32,389 in 2013’s second half; her campaign had $93,295 cash on hand but $80,668 in debts as of Dec. 31.
  • California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, seeking re-election to a second four-year term in the nonpartisan post, raised $592,775 in 2013’s second half while spending $210,999. The Pittsburg Democrat’s campaign had $556,561 cash on hand as of Dec. 31 with $53,814 in outstanding debts.

    But a Democratic challenger from Southern California hit the ground running with an impressive haul. Marshall Tuck, founding CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, raised $532,175 in 2013’s second half while spending $168,901; his campaign had $399,685 cash on hand as of Dec. 31, with $36,397 in outstanding debts.

    Lydia Gutierrez, an independent teacher from San Pedro who also sought this office in 2010, hasn’t filed a report yet.

    Posted on Friday, January 31st, 2014
    Under: Assembly, campaign finance, Tom Torlakson | 3 Comments »