|California - The Best State Money Can Buy.|
State's top 100 political donors contribute $1.25 billion
- Democracy does not exist in the People's Republic of California.
- From top to bottom almost all the political hacks in the state are owned by special interests.
- With monster super-sized legislative districts only millionaires or those funded by millionaire special interests can win elections.
In a state with nearly 38 million people, few have more influence than the top 100 donors to California campaigns – a powerful club that has donated overwhelmingly to Democrats and spent $1.25 billion to influence voters.
These big spenders represent a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of individuals and groups that donated to California campaigns from 2001 through 2011. But they supplied about a third of the $3.67 billion lavished on state campaigns during that time, campaign records show reports California Watch.
The state’s top 100 donors gave nearly five times as much to winning candidates as they did to losers. And they helped steer initiative campaigns to success as well – about 55 percent of every dollar they contributed to propositions aided a winning campaign, the analysis shows.
Some of these top 100 donors are continuing to donate heavily in the 2012 election cycle. For their part, tobacco companies Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds have spent more than $30 million since January to defeat an initiative on tomorrow’s ballot that would increase the cigarette tax.
Not surprisingly for California, the top 100 directed their money in large part toward the Democratic Party, which controls the governor’s office and the state Legislature. Overall, these top donors – 50 wealthy individuals and 50 special interest groups analyzed by California Watch – gave twice as much to Democratic candidates as they did members of other political parties.
But there was a split: Special interest donors favored Democrats, while individual donors favored Republicans by a slim margin.
When broken down, records show the top 50 group contributors – including labor unions, energy companies and tribal governments – were three times more likely to give to Democratic candidates. The top 50 individuals, however, gave slightly more to Republicans.
- The state’s most extravagant individual donor and biggest campaign loser is Stephen Bing, the real estate scion and Hollywood producer. He gave more money than any other individual to a state campaign – $49.5 million in 2006 to support Proposition 87, known as the alternative energy oil tax, which failed.
- But Bing proved that a handful of California’s richest special interests and individuals have an outsized voice in elections here. The campaign he spearheaded became one of the most expensive in California history, drawing more than $156 million in contributions. Chevron, Aera Energy and Occidental Oil & Gas donated a combined $80 million to fight Bing’s measure.
- The biggest special interest donor, the California Teachers Association, spent more than $118 million on campaigns in the state during the past five election cycles and the first half of this one. The union has focused overwhelmingly on initiatives, spending $100 million of that war chest advocating and opposing ballot measures over the past dozen years.
|Be it business or labor the cycle of corruption is the same. Everyone|
wants to line their pockets with taxpayer money.
Sugar DaddyFlorence had the Medicis. New York had Carnegie. California's political scene has its Sugar Daddies, awarded to donors whose contributions made up at least 25 percent of all the money that a committee received. Pour some sugar on me.
|Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Francisco, CAEnergy company (electricity, natural gas) 1,792 donations: 1,659 to candidates, 46 to ballot measures and 87 to parties||$66,897,713|
|4||Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Temecula, CATribal government with gaming interests 1,182 donations: 1,054 to candidates, 47 to ballot measures and 81 to parties||$52,597,794|
|1||Stephen L. Bing, Los Angeles, CAScreenwriter and movie producer 56 donations: 23 to candidates, 19 to ballot measures and 14 to parties||$52,500,782|
|5||Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Cabazon, CATribal government with gaming interests 413 donations: 314 to candidates, 23 to ballot measures and 76 to parties||$50,428,228|
|6||Chevron Corp., San Ramon, CAEnergy company (oil, gas and geothermal) 1,321 donations: 1,196 to candidates, 37 to ballot measures and 88 to parties||$50,405,905|
(Full story from California Watch)
|The politicians of California are bought and paid for.|