Money trail

Oct 17, 2012

California may be the place where candidates from all over come to raise cash, but political interests like to spend it here, too. One outfit based in Phoenix just dumped $11 million into the effort opposing Gov. Brown's tax initiative and favoring a move to curtail unions' political clout.


From John Myers at Sacramento's Channe10: "A Phoenix based political action committee, Americans for Responsible Leadership, wrote an $11 million check to the political committee fighting Proposition 30 and supporting Proposition 32."


"So which effort is the cash infusion for? One initiative? Both?"


"We don't reveal our campaign strategy," said Beth Miller, a spokesperson for the anti-tax group running the political committee, the Small Business Action Committee."


"That brings the group's total cash in the November effort to a little more than $29 million.  The Small Business Action Committee PAC's other big donor, so far, has been wealthy GOP activist Charles Munger, Jr. It was his sister, Proposition 38 proponent Molly Munger, who says her brother only intended his money be used for the pro-Prop 32 effort, and not against Brown's measure."


Speaking of money, the tally in the Berman-Sherman congressional shootout in the 30th CD is at $9 million and rising, although still shy of a record set more than a decade ago.


From the LAT's Richard Simon: "Rival Democratic Reps. Howard Bermanand Brad Sherman have spent more than $9 million in their fight over a San Fernando Valley congressional seat, according to the campaigns' most recent filings with the federal government."


"That means they are closing in on the $11.5 million spent by Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff of Glendale and former Republican congressman James E. Rogan a dozen years ago. That spending set a record for a California House race."


"Heading into the crucial final weeks before next month's election, Sherman had more cash on hand than Berman — $1.8 million to about $394,000, according to the latest campaign reporting period, which ended Sept. 30. Each campaign contended that the other actually had less money than the reports reflected, because of their respective debts."


Outside cash is a  critical factor in the 7th CD, the Sacramento-area fight between Dan Lungren and Amy Bera.


From the Bee's Tory Van Oot: "That's the case in the 7th Congressional District, where Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, and Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera are locked in a tight race."


"The contest in the Sacramento County swing seat is one of the country's most closely watched and most costly House races so far. Independent groups have spent more than $6.1 million on TV ads, mail pieces and on-the-ground staff."

Investigators of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are taking a look at San Bernardino, which filed for bankruptcy amid a welter of blame and accusations of potential wrongdoing.


From Abby Sewell and Phil Willon in the LA Times: "The city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection Aug. 1 after learning in July that it faced a $46-million budget shortfall, making it the third city in California to fail this year. Since then, city officials have traded blame and allegations as they work through a plan to cut costs and return the city to solvency."


"The Oct. 11 letter from the commission's office of enforcement to the city said the regulatory agency had opened an "informal inquiry" and requested that the city and its joint powers financing authority not alter or destroy financial documents and a list of records relating to the city's bond issuances and financial state, including communications with underwriters, financial advisors and bond counsel."


"The inquiry "should not be construed as an indication… that any violation of the federal securities laws has occurred," the SEC's attorney wrote. An SEC spokesman declined to comment on the inquiry."


The August fire at Chevron's refinery in Richmond has prompted one Oakland ctiy council member to demand that the company compensate the area with some cash.


From the Oakland Tribune's Robert Rogers: "The resolution could be the first formal call for community compensation since the Aug. 6 fire, which occurred when a pipe carrying high-temperature gas oil burst and ignited a massive fire. The fire sent more than 15,000 residents to area hospitals complaining of respiratory discomforts and other symptoms."


"In the days after the fire, Chevron opened a hotline and two claim centers where residents turned out in droves to file claims for monetary compensation."


"In an email late Monday, Chevron spokesman Derek Jansen said, "Chevron takes full responsibility for the fire that occurred at ourRichmond Refinery on Aug. 6. Chevron intends to provide financial compensation to our neighbors for documented out-of-pocket medical and property-damage expenses that were incurred as a result of the fire."

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