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Brown signs, vetoes political reform bills

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed one political-reform bill but signed several others Tuesday.

SB 3 by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, would have required the Fair Political Practices Commission to create an additional online training course for campaign treasurers. “This is a costly and unnecessary addition to the extensive training and outreach that the Commission already provides,” Brown wrote in his veto message.

The bill also would’ve required the Secretary of State to write a report on what it would take to have comprehensive online campaign disclosure, and Brown acknowledged “the current system – widely viewed as outdated and cumbersome – needs upgrading.” He directed the Government Operations Agency to consult with the FPPC and the Secretary of State “and come back to me with recommendations on the best way to improve campaign disclosure.”

“While I’m disappointed SB 3 hasn’t become law, I’m glad to share common ground with the governor on the need to improve Cal-Access,” Yee said in a news release this afternoon. “I look forward to working with the FPPC and the Secretary of State in finding the best means of making the system more effective. The end goal is for California to have an easily accessible and searchable system that ensures accountability in our elections.”

Philip Ung, policy advocate for the good-government group California Common Cause, said in Yee’s release that although his group disagrees with Brown on the need for treasurer training, Brown’s movement to update the Cal-Access campaign finance filing system “is a step forward to improving transparency in our elections. This action would not have been taken without the pressure from the Legislature, voters, and organizations like Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of California.”

Brown did sign AB 409 by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, which lets the the Fair Political Practices Commission develop and operate an online system for local and state officials and candidates to file their statements of economic interests.

A legislative analysis of AB 409 said allowing electronic filing could save the state a lot of money on the staff time and public access that paper statements require, and might reduce errors on the statements too. The Legislature passed this bill with unanimous votes.

The governor also signed two bills by Assemblyman Paul Fong. AB 552 lets the Fair Political Practices Commission collect unpaid fines and penalties without needing to file a civil lawsuit in superior court. And AB 1090 lets the FPPC bring civil and administrative enforcement actions for violations of a longstanding state law prohibiting conflicts of interests in contracting decisions; it also lets the FPPC issue advice regarding a public official’s obligations under that same law.

Fong, D-Cupertino, issued a statement saying the new laws strengthen the FPPC’s authority and provide resources so those who violate the public trust can be held accountable.

And Brown signed AB 1418 by the Committee on Elections and Redistricting. That bill repeals a requirement that campaign statements must be open for public inspection and copying from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Saturday before a statewide election in the offices of the Secretary of State and the registrars of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego counties; online availability of such reports has made those office hours obsolete, the committee said.

AB 1418 also makes some technical changes to the state’s Political Reform Act of 1974, in part to conform with California’s new top-two primary system.

Posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, campaign finance, Jerry Brown, Leland Yee, Paul Fong | 2 Comments »

Michelle Obama to raise $$$ for DNC in Bay Area

First Lady Michelle Obama will headline a Democratic National Committee fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 12 in Belvedere.

Tickets to the 2:30 p.m. reception at the home of retired software executive Noelle Leca and attorney Michael Moradzadeh start at $1,000 per head; it’s $5,000 for a photo with the First Lady, plus $1,000 per additional person in the photo, or $32,400 to become a co-chair and have an even smaller audience with Mrs. Obama.

Posted on Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
Under: campaign finance, Democratic Party, Democratic politics | 2 Comments »

A few upcoming Bay Area political fundrasiers

Though nobody’s pulling down the kind of $32,400-per-head dough that President Obama would’ve raised for Democrats in Los Angeles on Monday had he not cancelled to deal with Syria, some local, state and federal candidates in the Bay Area have fundraisers coming up.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, will celebrate her birthday with a fundraiser for her 2016 bid for the 9th State Senate District at 4 p.m. this Sunday, Sept. 8 in Oakland; the special guest will be former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, now a Cal law and public policy faculty member. Tickets cost $100 for “birthday love,” $500 for “birthday well wishes,” $1,000 for “birthday hugs” and $2,500 for “birthday kisses.”

Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson is holding a “BBQ, Brews, Blues and Badges” event to raise money for his 2014 re-election campaign next Friday evening Sept. 13 at the Pine Meadow Golf Course in Martinez. It’s $50 per person or $75 per couple, or $250 for bronze sponsorship, $500 for silver and $1,000 for gold.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will hold a leadership breakfast at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27 at an Oakland restaurant with special guest Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Springs, the freshman who defeated Republican Mary Bono Mack last year. Two tables of eight seats each go for $2,600 or $1,500; one table goes for $500; but individual tickets are pretty cheap at $50 per person or $35 for seniors, students and disabled persons. Lee also has scheduled a reception for 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29 at a couple of supporters’ home in Berkeley; tickets for that range from $100 to $1,000.

Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, will hold a brunch with special guest Assembly Speaker John Perez at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, before Cal’s homecoming game against Washington State, at a supporter’s home in Berkeley. Individual tickets cost $100 or $250, but co-host status costs from $500 to $8,200.

Posted on Friday, September 6th, 2013
Under: Assembly, Barbara Lee, Bill Quirk, California State Senate, campaign finance, Nancy Skinner, U.S. House | No Comments »

CA17: Mike Honda sings; Ro Khanna in ‘War Room’

Rep. Mike Honda, facing a 2014 challenge from a well-funded fellow Democrat, is willing to sing for his supper – or, at least, to help fill his campaign coffers.

“Congressman Mike Honda is a master on the karaoke mic. Everyone from DC to California’s 17th Congressional District knows it. SF does too,” reads an invitation to the next fundraising event for Honda, D-San Jose. “Let’s celebrate Mike’s re-election effort by joining together for some fun, drink, and embarrassment on Friday, August 16th at Pandora Karaoke Bar in San Francisco! (If you don’t sing, don’t worry – come anyway!)”

The host committee includes former Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco; San Francisco Democratic Party executive director Ally Medina; and several others. Tickets for this “On the Mic with Mike” event cost from $45 to $1,000, but there’s no mention of how much you can pay to avoid listening to these folks sing.

Meanwhile, challenger Ro Khanna will be busy Friday night holding his umpteenth meet-and-greet at a private home in Cupertino; on Saturday, his campaign will be going door-to-door in Fremont, Milpitas, Cupertino and Sunnyvale.

Khanna is coming off a high-exposure week that started with his appearance on Current TV’s “The War Room:”

Posted on Thursday, August 15th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 9 Comments »

Money matchups: Other statewide offices

My article in today’s editions discussed fundraising by 2014 candidates for governor, treasurer, controller and secretary of state, but here are a few other California-wide details for your wonky pleasure.

Attorney General Kamala Harris raised $1.76 million in the first half of 2013, and had $2.7 million cash on hand as of June 30 with about $14,000 in outstanding debts. Harris won a very close race in 2010 – eight-tenths of a point, with rival Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley not conceding until three weeks after Election Day. As of now, however, nobody has filed a statement of intention to run against her in 2014.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom raised $392,000 in the first half of this year and spent about $148,000, leaving him with $1.3 million cash on hand as of June 30; his campaign also had almost $34,000 in outstanding debts at that time. But Newsom, at least for now, faces little competition. Santa Monica businessman Howard Leonhardt, an independent, has a campaign website but I don’t see that he’s filed any papers with the Secretary of State; Republican Robert Bates hasn’t filed any fundraising reports. Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, has a committee open for the 2014 lieutenant governor race, but it has only $747; he’s amassing money for a 2016 state Senate bid. And Republican congressmen Jeff Denham and Kevin McCarthy still have 2014 lieutenant governor campaign committees open but aren’t expected to give up their House seats to run the race. Neither raised any money this year; Denham had $169,000 cash on hand and McCarthy had $72,000 as of June 30.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson raised $183,000 in the first half of this year and spent almost $99,000, leaving him with almost $133,000 cash on hand as of June 30; his campaign also had almost $11,000 in outstanding debts at that time. So far, nobody has filed a statement of intention to run against him in 2014.

Likewise, nobody has filed a statement of intention to challenge Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who raised about $490,000 in the first half of this year and spent about $137,170, leaving him with almost $920,000 cash on hand as of June 30; his campaign also had about $10,000 in outstanding debts at that time.

Posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, Attorney General, campaign finance, Dave Jones, Gavin Newsom, Kamala Harris, Lt. Governor, Tom Torlakson | 2 Comments »

Money matchups: AD15, AD16, AD25 & AD28

There just wasn’t room in today’s campaign fundraising article for these juicy tidbits about some Bay Area Assembly seats.

As many as six Democrats might vie to succeed Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who’ll be term-limited out of her 15th Assembly District seat:

  • Elizabeth Echols of Oakland, former regional administrator for the Small Business Administration, raised almost $85,000 in the year’s first half and had almost $80,000 cash on hand as of June 30, but also had almost $18,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Sam Kang of Emeryville, the general counsel for an economic justice advocacy group, raised $74,000 in the year’s first half and had $69,000 cash on hand with about $4,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Andy Katz of Berkeley, president of the East Bay Municipal Utilities District’s board, raised about $56,000 and had about $49,000 cash on hand with $7,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Tony Thurmond, a former Richmond councilman and former West Contra Costa County School Board member, raised more than $52,000 in the year’s first half and had almost $36,000 cash on hand with about $12,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Peggy Moore of Oakland, who was the California political director of President Obama’s re-election campaign, raised $30,000 in the year’s first half and had $25,000 cash on hand and no outstanding debts.
  • Cecilia Valdez, a San Pablo councilwoman, also has declared her intent to run for the seat, but had not filed an electronic report of her fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, also will be term-limited out in the 16th Assembly District. Among those potentially competing to succeed her:

  • Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer, a Democrat who was political adviser to Brown’s 2010 campaign, raised about $245,000 in the year’s first half and with about $240,000 cash on hand but $2,000 in outstanding debts as of June 30.
  • Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, a Democrat, raised about $112,000 in the year’s first half and had about $101,000 cash on hand but $10,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, raised $50,000 in the year’s first half and had $39,000 cash on hand but $7,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Attorney Catharine Baker, a Republican from Dublin, also has declared her intent to run for the seat, but had not filed an electronic report of her fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, is raising funds to run for the 10th State Senate District seat, leaving his 25th Assembly District seat up for grabs:

  • San Jose City Councilman Kansen Chu, a Democrat, raised about $170,000 in the first half of 2013 and had about $153,000 cash on hand as of June 30, with $1,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Ohlone College Board of Trustees member Teresa Cox, a Democrat, raised about $16,000 in the year’s first half and had about $15,000 cash on hand as of June 30, with almost $4,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Milpitas Councilman Armando Gomez, a Democrat, also has declared his intent to run for the seat, but had not filed an electronic report of his fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • In the South Bay, Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Campbell, also is term-limited out of his 28th Assembly District seat in 2014. Those who might vie to replace him include:

  • Campbell Mayor Evan Low, a Democrat who works as an aide to Fong, raised more than $113,000 in the year’s first half and had about $240,000 cash on hand as of June 30, with about $3,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Both Cupertino City Councilman Barry Chang, a Democrat, and silicon chip processing engineer Michael Hunsweck, a Republican from Stanford, have declared intent to run for the seat, but neither had filed electronic reports on their fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • Posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2013
    Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, campaign finance, Joan Buchanan, Nancy Skinner, Paul Fong | 1 Comment »

    Money matchup: Mary Hayashi vs. Bob Wieckowski

    One of the more interesting tidbits I’ve run across today, the deadline for California candidates to file their semi-annual campaign finance reports, is in the East Bay’s 10th State Senate District.

    Mary HayashiWith incumbent Ellen Corbett term-limited out at the end of next year, former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi – convicted in January 2012 of shoplifting, and defeated in her November 2012 bid for an Alameda County supervisor’s seat – plans to run against Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont.

    Hayashi raised only $5,900 in the first half of this year – $3,200 from the Sycuan Band Of The Kumeyaay Nation, $2,500 from the Independent Insurance Political Action Committee, and $200 from Sempra Energy – while spending about $25,000, leaving her with about $732,000 cash on hand as of June 30.

    Wieckowski raised much more – almost $135,000 – and spent almost $72,000, but finished with a lot less cash on hand: about $76,000 as of June 30, with almost $11,000 in outstanding debts.

    Sure, it’s early, and Wieckowski as an incumbent probably can raise more money faster as people start tuning in to this race. But that’s a biiiiiig pot of money Hayashi is sitting on, and it’ll be interesting to see how effectively she can use it to rehabilitate her public image and build a serious campaign.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
    Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, campaign finance, Ellen Corbett, Mary Hayashi | 14 Comments »

    GOP donors urge action on immigration reform

    More than a dozen prominent Republican campaign donors and donor groups from California wrote to the state’s GOP House members Tuesday, urging them to pass substantive immigration reform this year.

    “We believe that it is the responsibility of our elected leaders to ensure that our laws keep us safe and help our economy grow. Our current immigration system does neither,” the GOP donors wrote. “It rewards law-breakers at the expense of those who follow the rules. It turns away talented workers who can help our economy. And, by not controlling our borders, it makes all Americans less safe.

    “Doing nothing is de facto amnesty. We need to take control of whom we let in our country and we need to make sure everybody plays by the same rules.”

    The letter was signed by:

  • Former U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay Frank Baxter of Los Angeles
  • San Diego-area developer James S. Brown and his wife, Marilyn, of Jamul
  • David Hanna, chairman and CEO of FHP Wireless Inc. & Hanna Ventures LLC, of Laguna Beach
  • conservative writer David Horowitz of Laguna Niguel
  • Diving Unlimited founder Dick Long of San Diego
  • former San Francisco Giants managing partner Peter Magowan of San Francisco
  • CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder of Santa Barbara
  • Orange County Business Journal publisher and CEO Richard Reisman of Laguna Beach
  • former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert Tuttle of Los Angeles
  • Hispanic 100
  • Lincoln Club of Orange County
  • New Majority Orange County
  • New Majority San Diego
  • Many of them also were among 102 from across the nation who co-signed a letter going to all Republican House members.

    “Immigrants coming to this country for a better life have helped build and sustain America. They are a vital part of our future prosperity. They remind us of our potential as a free people,” Puzder said in a news release. “If our great nation is to continue to grow and prosper, we need to reform and modernize the U.S. immigration system. I strongly encourage the California Republican Congressional Delegation to strengthen our nation by working with their House colleagues to advance substantial immigration reform legislation this year.”

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
    Under: campaign finance, Immigration, Republican politics | No Comments »

    Which House member has most campaign cash?

    Which of Northern California’s House members has the most money in their campaign war chests? You might be surprised.

    While some incumbents are likely to face significant challenges from across the aisle (like Garamendi, Bera, McNerney and Denham) and others from within their own party (like Honda and maybe Swalwell), neither of the two House members with the most cash on hand as of June 30 are expected to have much to worry about next year.

    Here’s the list, showing how much they raised in the second quarter (April 1 through June 30) and their cash on hand at mid-year:

      CA5 – Mike Thompson, D-Napa: $257,579.45 raised, $1,470,170.24 COH
      CA14 – Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough: $221,762 raised, $1,086,141.98 COH
      CA10 – Jeff Denham, R-Modesto: $506,491.26 raised, $834,836.30 COH
      CA19 – Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose: $149,546.50 raised, $658,386 COH
      CA7 – Ami Bera, D-Rancho Cordova: $264,318.49 raised, $505,044 COH
      CA12 – Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco: $315,769.05 raised, $422,059.25 COH
      CA15 – Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton: $237,314.38 raised, $405,182.23 COH
      CA4 – Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay: $132,668.99 raised, $384,717.76 COH
      CA17 – Mike Honda, D-San Jose: $344,894.86 raised, $374,646.94 COH
      CA6: Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento: $240,826.01 raised, $371,894.30 COH
      CA18 – Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto: $193,225 raised, $363,855.25 COH
      CA11 – George Miller, D-Martinez: $233,328.87 raised, $354,655.16 COH
      CA2 – Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael: $141,648.93 raised, $266,847.38 COH
      CA16 – Jim Costa, D-Merced: $131,765 raised, $243,693.64 COH
      CA9 – Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton: $169,311.47 raised, $187,041.28 COH
      CA20 – Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz: $187,242.31 raised, $136,571.50 COH
      CA1 – Doug LaMalfa, R-Oroville: $87,200 raised, $130,603.76 COH
      CA3 – John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove: $179,832.73 raised, $124,197.06 COH
      CA13 – Barbara Lee, D-Oakland: $178,425.82 raised, $97,975.47 COH

    Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
    Under: 2014 primary, Ami Bera, Anna Eshoo, Barbara Lee, campaign finance, Eric Swalwell, George Miller, Jackie Speier, Jared Huffman, Jeff Denham, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Mike Honda, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House, Zoe Lofgren | 5 Comments »

    Swalwell outraises Corbett 20-to-1 in 15th District

    I reported last week that challenger Ro Khanna far outraised incumbent Rep. Mike Honda in the race for for a South Bay House seat, but a far more lopsided Democrat-on-Democrat fundraising contest was revealed Monday in the East Bay.

    In the 15th Congressional District, where state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, plans to challenge Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, Corbett filed a report Monday afternoon with the Federal Election Commission showing she raised $12,000 in the second quarter and had about $116,000 cash on hand as of June 30.

    Swalwell’s report for the same period actually was even a bit rosier than the projections campaign consultant Lisa Tucker had offered last week. The freshman lawmaker raised more than $237,000 from April 1 through June 30 (about 20 times Corbett’s haul), leaving him with more than $405,000 cash on hand (about three and a half times Corbett’s war chest) at the quarter’s end.

    Swalwell said Monday that former CIA director, Secretary of Defense, White House chief of staff and congressman Leon Panetta will be in Pleasanton in September to headline a fundraiser.

    Corbett was going door-to-door in downtown Hayward on Monday afternoon, handing out fliers touting her Senate office’s constituent services and contact information to business owners and shoppers.

    Though accompanied by a helper, she said her campaign at this point is mostly just her own shoe-leather and determination – which sounds not unlike Swalwell at the time he launched his campaign against Pete Stark in September 2011.

    Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2013
    Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 5 Comments »