Monday, July 31, 2006

Special Interests Oppose Proposition 89

Big Business, Big Labor & Their Consultants Team Up To Kill Genuine Reform Of Special Interest Dominance in Sacramento-Prop

By Jamie Court, Carmen Balber

SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 31 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Two of the most prolific special interest campaign givers in Sacramento, the big business lobby and the California Teachers Association, gave up their usual enmity and teamed up today to announce their opposition to campaign finance overhaul, California Proposition 89, on the November ballot.

Both groups will have to file campaign finance reports today showing the scope of their political contributions to candidates, which Proposition 89 virtually eliminates.

"Only a genuine campaign finance reform overhaul like Proposition 89 could force big labor and big business onto the same team because no cash-rich special interest will be able to buy the legislature if Prop 89 passes," said Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). "Consultants like Goddard Clausen, that represent big corporations and Republicans, and Gale Kaufman, who works for labor unions and Democrats, see their gravy train ending under Prop 89. The fact that such large and incompatible special interests oppose Prop 89 makes the case for why it will work."

The League of Women Voters, California Common Cause, and Public Campaign have joined FTCR in supporting Prop 89, placed on the ballot by the California Nurses Association.

Excluding today's reporting, which has yet to be made public, the California Teachers Association's candidate committee has given $13,660,191 to candidates since 1999. The Chamber of Commerce's members have easily matched the teachers' spending.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Proposition 89 News

California Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of California Are Proud to Announce Their Support for Proposition 89

California's two major good government organizations, the League of Women Voters of California and California Common Cause, joined a growing coalition of community-based organizations, and announced their endorsement today of Proposition 89, the Clean Money Initiative.

Said Jackie Jacobberger, President of the League of Women Voters of California, "The League and Common Cause have actively worked to support reasonable measures including contribution limits, limits on campaign spending, partial public financing of campaigns, and better disclosure of the financing of campaigns. But the real solution to the runaway spending that has made California's elections a competition of money, not ideas, is public funding -- the Clean Money approach."

"We hope that California will join Connecticut, Maine, Arizona and other places in adopting a Clean Money system that puts voter interests ahead of lobbyists and special interests. These states have proven that Clean Money elections are constitutional and they work," said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. "Californians are tired of pay-to-play politics and negative ad wars. Proposition 89 would go a long way toward giving citizens a louder voice and a more responsive government."

Said Kathay Feng, Executive Director of California Common Cause, "We face a serious problem with voter apathy and disgust over elections where there are no new ideas or faces. A Clean Money system levels the playing field for more qualified candidates with diverse points of view and backgrounds to run. Good candidates show their viability by collecting a certain number (750 - 25,000 depending on the office) of five dollar contributions, and then receive public funding to run on their ideas. Having a huge campaign war chest or the endorsement of machine politicians would no longer be the key to winning."

Prop. 89 was placed on the November 2006 ballot through the efforts of the California Nurses Association.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dirty Money Watch Reveals Calif. Politicians' Dirty Secrets, Shows Need for Prop 89, The Clean Money & Fair Elections Act

By Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights

SANTA MONICA, California - July 19 - The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) today launched a new web site to expose cash register politics in California that the passage of campaign finance reform Proposition 89 will end. follows the success of FTCR's in tracking the hidden hand of special interests in the capitol. The web site looks beyond the Governor's office, however, and offers a landmark solution to the corrosive power of special interests and lobbyists over all of California government - Proposition 89 on the November ballot. Get the RSS Feed at

"Prop 89 is a recall of politics as usual in California and is the list of grievances that shows the need for cash register politics' demise," said FTCR President Jamie Court. " is a chronicle of the chronic corruption of political decisions by campaign cash." The initial weblogs reveal:

-- How Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez received a $50,000 political donation from Blue Cross, entitling the HMO to two world cup tickets, two weeks after Nunez helped the insurer defeat major patients rights legislation on the Assembly floor - see

-- The way in which termed-out leaders of the California Senate have opened 2010 candidate committees to continue shaking down donors for campaign cash - see - and which other lawmakers have followed their lead - see

-- Why it pays to cheat in Fair Political Practices Commission filings now and pay little fines later -- see

-- How the threat of the prison guard union's $10 million campaign war chest prompted Governor Schwarzenegger to do an about face on prison reform - see

-- Just what perks the life and health insurance lobby bought for lawmakers and their spouses - including golf, spa treatments and in-room movies - at the exclusive Pebble Beach last fall - see

Proposition 89 establishes a system of public financing for candidates who reject private money and sets tougher limits on contributions from corporations, unions and private individuals. It also closes current campaign finance loopholes and strives to reduce the influence of professional lobbyists.

Proposition 89 cleans up the corruption of money in politics to enable elected leaders to focus on the wishes and needs of all its citizens rather than their campaign contributors, and to ensure that elections are about candidates' ideas and not about the amount of money they raise.

A summary of Proposition 89's main provisions:

-- Public funding for candidates who agree not to take private money for their campaigns. To qualify for the funds, candidates must collect a set number of $5 contributions.

-- Participating candidates may receive additional matching funds of up to five times the original amount of funding to compete equally with independent expenditures, or expenditures by wealthy and other privately-funded opponents.

-- Contribution limits that apply across the board to corporations, unions, and individuals: no more than $500 per election cycle to individual legislative candidates, $1,000 for statewide offices, $1,000 to so-called independent expenditure committees, $7,500 to political parties and aggregate total limits of $15,000 per year per donor to all candidates and committees that seek to influence the election of candidates.

-- A ban on contributions to candidates by lobbyists and state contractors.

-- Corporate treasury donations capped at $10,000 per ballot measure. Additional contributions from both unions and corporations on initiatives must be made through political action committees.

-- Funding generated by a 0.2 percent increase in the corporation tax rate from 8.84 percent to 9.04 percent - a figure lower than it was from 1980 to 1996.

-- Extensive public disclosure requirements.

-- Strong enforcement provisions, including removing those who cheat the system from office.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Consumers and Prop 89

Consumer Federation of California Endorses Prop 89; Group Cites Corrosive Role of Big Business Money in Politics

The Consumer Federation of California ( ) endorsed Proposition 89 (the "Clean Money" Initiative), citing the increasingly corrosive role corporate campaign contributions play in shaping public policy - benefiting the narrow interests of big business to the detriment of consumers.

CFC's Executive Director Richard Holober stated, "All too often, consumer protection legislation is defeated in Sacramento by politicians who are beholden to the big business interests that bankroll their electoral campaigns. Proposition 89 would help reduce the influence of corporate campaign contributions on elected officials. It will help to decrease the use of the ballot initiative as a vehicle for big business to enact legislation, and help restore the initiative to its original purpose as an expression of the people's will."

The "Clean Money" system of public financing of elections is similar to those already adopted in Maine and Arizona. The proposed initiative would allow candidates who garner a substantial number of small contributions and agree not to accept PAC money, to receive full public financing of their campaign. States that have adopted the "Clean Money" system have seen lower overall campaign spending, candidates freed from around the clock fundraising, and increased voter turnout.

In supporting Prop 89, CFC cited two recent examples in which corporate contributions played a clear role in defeating consumer protection laws overwhelmingly supported by the public. In one such case, the telecommunication industry contributed in excess of $300,000 to the ten members of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee (Source: CA Secretary of State Website). Despite the support of 87 percent of California voters, the committee killed telephone consumer protection legislation (SB 1068, AB 2622) that would have restored the right to cancel a new cell phone contract without being subjected to outrageous cancellation fees.

Similarly, during an 18-month period in 2001 and 2002, banks, insurers and other industry opponents of financial privacy legislation contributed $8.8 million to state politicians, resulting in the killing of SB 773 (Source: San Francisco Chronicle, September 7, 2002). Corporate contributions defeated financial privacy legislation that enjoyed the support of 90 percent of California voters.

The Consumer Federation of California is a nonprofit organization, established in 1960, that advocates for consumer protection laws and regulations.