Thursday, August 31, 2006

Stop the Pledge Loophole Used to Dodge Disclosure

Consumer Group Calls For End To Contribution Pledge Loophole Allowing Lawmakers to Conceal Donations At Crucial Moment
Lobbyists and Special Interests Promise Contribution Before Session Ends, But Don't Pay -- And Pols Don't Disclose -- Until After Session Ends

Santa Monica, CA -- The state's political ethics watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), should close a loophole that allows politicians to conceal contributions from special interests and lobbyists in the final days of the legislative session, when the fate of hundreds of bills is on the line, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said today. The Orange County Register reports today that at least 14 lawmakers have held fundraisers yet reported no donations after August 9, 2006 when contributions to politicians were required to be disclosed within one day. Rather than writing checks to the politician hosting the fundraiser, the donors instead pledge to contribute later, exploiting an FPPC loophole that exempts such pledges from disclosure.

"Allowing politicians to conceal donations from special interests while deciding the fate of more than 1,500 proposed laws is convenient for lobbyists and lawmakers alike," wrote Douglas Heller and Judy Dugan of the nonpartisan, nonprofit FTCR in a letter to the FPPC today. "But it leaves the public in the dark about one of the most despicable and corrupting traditions in Sacramento: fundraising while legislating."

The letter can be downloaded at:

The consumer group, which is supporting Proposition 89 on the November ballot to stop political corruption, asked the FPPC to rewrite its regulations to remove the exemption that creates the contribution pledge loophole. FTCR said that allowing the lobbyists and special interests to make undisclosed pledges to politicians adds a new layer of potential corruption in the Capitol.

"The lobbyist is dangling money in front of a lawmaker while withholding the contribution until after the key legislative decisions are made. At the same time, the public knows nothing of this pressure to vote a certain way. The pledge loophole makes the conflict inherent in fundraising while legislating even more pernicious," concluded FTCR.

FTCR has protested the extraordinary number of fundraisers occurring in the final weeks of August this year. At the group is presenting video reports from Sacramento about the fundraising blitz and the efforts by politicians and special interests to hide their fundraising activities from public scrutiny.

AT&T not happy with all legislators

AT&T Shuns Four in Assembly
What did Jackie Goldberg, Simon Salinas, Joe Nation and Jay LaSuer ever do to AT&T? Every other Assemblymember got a campaign contribution this legislative session from the phone giant that steamrolled through the Capitol this year with a bill to deregulate the cable tv/video services industry. But these four Assemblymembers got nothing. All told, AT&T donated to 76 of the 80 Assemblymembers who will vote on their bill by week’s end. Surprise, surprise the bill passed with a 77-0 vote when the Assembly first debated it earlier this year.

AT&T covered its bases on the Senate as well, passing out cash to every Senator except Torlakson, Scott, Kuehl and Escutia in 2005-2006. AT&T did make sure to keep Senator Escutia, chair of the Senate Utilities Committee, in the loop, spending $1200 to send her and her family to a Lakers game. The main, and possibly only, thing that these politicians seem to have in common is that they are all termed out and do not have political committees for AT&T to donate to (except for La Suer — boy did he miss a memo).

With at least 113 of 120 lawmakers getting cash or gifts from AT&T, and Governor Schwarzenegger sitting with more than a quarter million from AT&T (and its corporate partner SBC), there’s no chance Californians will get a real debate on the issue in these final days of the Legislature or when the Gov sits down for the bill signing ceremony. Add to the individual donations a couple of hundred grand from AT&T to the Democratic and Republican parties over the past two years and it’s easy to understand why this bill has not found a single opponent in either house.

Maybe, just to give the regular Californians who actually pay for cable a shot at a fair hearing, the 113 politicians with dirty money in their pockets should sit this vote out and let the other seven decide the fate of the bill. The only other option is to pass Prop 89 so that lawmakers could come to this decision with a clear mind and a clean pocket.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Why California has worse flood protection than NOLA

With the Katrina anniversary, there has been lots of talk about what government needs to do to protect citizens from another disaster. The other day, California Assemblymember John Laird told the Capitol Weekly, "We have less flood protection than they had in New Orleans. Sacramento is really not protected and the thousands of people who live here are at risk." But this wasn't a story about the anniversary, this was a report on how flood protection in California died a suspicious death in the legislature:

This week, just as Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata put on hold an eight-bill package of flood-protection legislation, one of his political committees received a $500,000 donation from the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), one of the package's biggest opponents.

The donation is the single largest that a Perata committee has received since he became Senate leader in 2004.

In response, the California Majority Report noted, "As is the case with many policy areas that the legislature deals with, especially this time of year, eyebrows were raised about the timing of all of this." In addition being a policy disaster that risks lives, these scandals harm people's faith in government, decreasing participation in a vicious cycle that gives even more power to the special interests who run Sacramento.

In May, the Public Policy Institute of California polled on the issue (May 14-21, 2000 adult residents, +/- 2% MOE):

Do you think that campaign contributions are currently having a good effect or a bad effect on the public policy decisions made by state elected officials in Sacramento, or are campaign contributions making no difference?"

Good Effect12%
Bad Effect56%

The big money that controls Sacramento is so excessive, that it is easy to see why the polls show people realize how it is harming policy. If you check out yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle, you'll see an editorial blasting the "nasty moves" that special interests used to kill flood control. It is easy to see why people who pay attention are disgusted by the way Sacramento operates like an auction.

Special Interests Killing Universal Health Care Legislation

Yesterday, the California Assembly passed historic Universal Health Care legislation. This bill would save $8 billion a year and at the same time provide insurance for 6 million Californians. Sounds too good to be true? Well here comes the but...

Insurers have spent $3.7 million in campaign contributions in California since 2005. Governor Schwarzenegger, who alone has received $765,000 from health insurers, has said he will veto the bill.

The big money has a proven ability to stop sound policy, and so California will waste $8 billion a year so that 6 million less people will have health insurance.

Special Interests New Deregulation

Public safety and health care aren't the only areas where big money dominates in Sacramento. While lawmakers are holding dozens of fundraisers as they wrap up the legislative session, AT&T lobbyists are hitting the jackpot:

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) gave AT&T and smaller Verizon permission to raise telephone rates at will, even as a telecommunications deregulation bill -- a bonanza for AT&T and a bane to consumers -- sped toward passage in the state Senate, jammed with last-minute amendments. [...]

AT&T, while publicly billing the deregulation as beneficial competition in the video market, has not promised any rate reductions or other specific consumer benefits. It has poured nearly $18 million into lobbying efforts over the last few months, and $500,000 into direct political contributions during this election cycle, noted FTCR. That does not include contribution pledges made during legislators' mad dash of fund-raising during the last three weeks of the legislative session, which ends next Thursday. These contributions will not be known until after the hundreds of measures still coming to a vote are passed or killed.

Yes, it sounds exactly like what went on during electrical deregulation, but as with flood protection, government can't learn from past mistakes when special interests are running the show.

Solution: Proposition 89

Proposition 89 is the Clean Money and Fair Elections initiative that California will vote on this November. Put on the ballot by the California Nurses Association of anti-Arnold fame, the proposal addresses that systematic problems that are holding back good policy on a wide array of issues. Here are the details of Proposition 89.

Strict contribution and expenditure limits
Prop. 89 ends the fundraising madness with constitutional limits so regular voters aren't drowned out by big money.
* Proposition 89 bans contributions from lobbyists and state contractors
* Proposition 89 limits contributions from corporations, unions, and individuals to state candidates
* Proposition 89 limits corporation donations to initiatives to $10,000

Clean Money public financing of political campaigns
Prop. 89 levels the playing field so new candidates can win on their ideas, not
because of the money they raise.
* With Proposition 89, candidates who agree to spending limits and to take no private contributions qualify for public funding
* Under Proposition 89, $5 contributions from voters required to prove viability
* With Proposition 89, lean candidates receive enough to run competitive campaigns. They can't raise money beyond public funds

Tough disclosure and enforcement for politicians
Prop. 89 stops candidates from hiding behind negative ads and punishes politicians who violate the law.
* Proposition 89 makes wealthy self-funded candidates disclose the amount of personal funds they will spend
* Under Proposition 89, publicly financed candidates must engage in debates
* Proposition 89 imposes mandatory jail time and provides for removal from office of candidates who break the law.

The Challenge

Of course, the special interests who dominate Sacramento are spending at least as much money to stop Proposition 89 as they spend for each issue where they want to dominate the debate. While we won't have as much money as the opposition, what we do have is a great initiative, a reality-based argument, lots of supporters, and trusted organizations like the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, California Nurses, the Consumer Federation of California and the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights all aggressively and creatively working to pass the initiative.

We would also like to have your support. We have started a campaign blog to keep supporters up-to-date and would appreciate it if supporters would sign up for email updates. Thanks for reading all the way down.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Insurance Industry Big Money Fighting Proposition 89

Insurance Industry Accounts for 59% of Anti-89 Money;
$400,000+ From Insurers That Have Mastered Pay-to-Play in Capitol; Prop 89 Will Stop Political Corruption, End Special Interest Dominance
Santa Monica, CA -- California's multi-billion dollar insurance industry, among the most prolific political donors in the state, has become the lead financier of the campaign against Proposition 89, the campaign reform initiative that will stop political corruption. $415,000 of the $700,000 donated to the No on 89 PAC to date comes directly from the insurance industry, including:

* $200,000 from California's 3rd largest auto insurer, Mercury Insurance, and its CEO George Joseph;
* $100,000 from Zenith, the largest private workers compensation insurer in California; and
* $50,000 from Farmers, the state's 2nd largest auto and homeowners insurance company.
* Other insurance contributors against Prop 89 include IBA (Insurance Brokers and Agents) West, The Doctors Company and Fireman's Fund.

Driving insurers' donations, according to consumer advocates, is fear of another Proposition 103-style revolt against the status quo. In 1988 voters enacted Prop 103, placing strong limits on insurance company profiteering with Prop 103. This month Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi put an end to the 17 year battle over the last unenforced provision of Prop 103 when he required auto insurers to rewrite their pricing system to base premiums on a motorists' record rather than their ZIP code. As companies begin to comply, they are announcing, as State Farm did last week, massive savings for customers.

"With Prop 103, insurers lost the right to gouge consumers; now they may the lose their ability to buy the Legislature, where insurers have long been able to stop further reform of their claims and pricing practices," said Harvey Rosenfield, the author of Proposition 103. "In 1988, Prop 103 gave the voters a chance to protect themselves when corrupt politicians refused to reform the insurance industry. Prop 89 stops the political corruption that currently blocks so many needed reforms from gaining traction in Sacramento."

"We pay enormous premiums for inadequate insurance protections, we have seven million people without health coverage, soaring chronic asthma rates as Californians breathe the nation's most polluted air, insufficient funding for our schools, and some of the highest gas and electric rates in the nation," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, which is leading the drive to pass Prop 89. "The present system works for the insurance companies and the other big donors, it just doesn't work for the rest of us."

Supporters of Prop 89 said insurers are leading this campaign because they fear what would happen if lawmakers were freed from the pay-to-play politics that dominates Sacramento today. According to the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, millions of dollars of insurance company donations to politicians, particularly those in key committees, have driven a string of anti-consumer votes in the State Capitol in recent years.

Assembly Insurance Committee chairman Juan Vargas, for example, has received at least $315,000 in campaign contributions from insurance interests. In recent years, his committee has blocked desperately needed homeowner protections in the wake of Southern California wildfires and has passed legislation allowing auto insurance surcharges on low-income drivers. This year, the committee passed a measure, AB 2840, that would have blocked Insurance Commissioner Garamendi's landmark rules lowering rates for good drivers throughout the state.

"For years the insurance industry has held a death-grip on the State Legislature, using the Assembly Insurance Committee as its boneyard," said Douglas Heller, Executive Director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "Insurers know that their political donations buy them extraordinary power right at the key bottleneck for consumer protection bills. Prop 89 would relieve lawmakers of their dependence on industry cash and that scares insurance executives."

Insurers spent "$25 million on lobbyists, campaign contributions and perks"
An example of how the insurance industry benefits financially from its huge campaign contributions was vividly cited by the Los Angeles Times in a February 27, 2006 article.

Following disastrous Southern California wildfires, lawmakers proposed six bills that would have made it harder for insurers to cancel insurance or raise rates, reduced paperwork homeowners needed to collect claims, and required insurers to provide consumers with more information about policy choices.

These provisions, hotly challenged by the insurance industry, died in the Assembly Insurance Committee whose members, Democrats and Republicans alike, had received more than $1 million in insurance industry money just in 2003-2004. Overall, the Times reported, "insurers have spent $25 million on lobbyists, campaign contributions and perks for lawmakers" since 2003.

Schwarzenegger Received $105,000 From Insurers on Day of Veto
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is another major beneficiary of insurance industry largesse, and responded with vetoes and other policies rewarding them. Among his insurance donors, Zenith has contributed over $244,000 to Schwarzenegger, Mercury just over $200,000 (see Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is another major beneficiary of insurance industry largesse, and responded with vetoes and other policies rewarding them. Among his insurance donors, Zenith has contributed over $244,000 to Schwarzenegger, Mercury just over $200,000 (see

Insurers were rewarded on October 7, 2005, when Schwarzenegger vetoed SB399, a bill that would have required insurance companies, not Medi-Cal, to pay medical costs for uninsured drivers who are injured in an accident caused by an insured driver, saving taxpayers $225 million a year. On the same day that Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 399, the American Insurance Association gave Schwarzenegger $105,000.

Mercury Insurance Donated Widely, Won Passage of Illegal Premium Surcharge
In 2003, California lawmakers and Governor Gray Davis signed legislation allowing insurance companies to surcharge motorists who had been previously uninsured. Consumer advocates and Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi opposed the proposal as an illegal amendment to voter approved Proposition 103 and arguing that it would raise premiums on many low income drivers. The sponsor of that law, authored by Senator Don Perata, was Mercury Insurance, which distributed more than $1 million to state lawmakers in the two years leading up to enactment of the bill. After signing the bill, Governor Gray Davis received $175,000 in contributions from Mercury. Read more at: In 2005, a California Court of Appeal struck down the law as an illegal amendment to Proposition 103.

Mercury Insurance CEO Gave $500,000 to GOP After Dems Blocked Anti-Consumer Bill
Mercury's CEO George Joseph has long been a major donor in California politics, with his donations being made in close proximity to policy decisions by lawmakers. Soon after then Senate Pro-Tem Bill Lockyer blocked Mercury sponsored legislation to amend Proposition 103 in order to allow insurers to base auto premiums on a driver's ZIP code rather than their driving record, Joseph wrote a $500,000 check to the California Republican Party.

Prop 89 Would End Pay to Play Politics-As-Usual
Under Prop. 89, insurance companies, HMOs, and all other donors, including unions, individuals, and other businesses, would be limited to contributions of no more than $500 to Assembly or Senate candidates and $1,000 to candidates for statewide office. Donations to political parties for support of candidates and ballot measures are limited to $7,500 annually.

Prop. 89 also provides for public grants for candidates who reject private fundraising, bans contributions to candidates from lobbyists and government contractors, and sets tough penalties for violators, up to jail time and removal from office.

"Elections could be decided by what's in the best interest of voters and public policy, not what's good for the wealthiest donors," noted DeMoro.

Zenith, Mercury, and other corporate donors would also be restricted to contributing only $10,000 of customer money from their general treasuries to ballot measures. Corporate PACs could continue to contribute as much as they wish on initiative campaigns.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Proposition 89 Gaining Support

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 by endorsing Proposition 89.

"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," said Jackie Jacobberger, President of the League of Women Voters of California. "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."

Proposition 89 mandates strict contribution limits, creates public financing of political campaigns and forces tough disclosure and enforcement for politicians.

"We face a serious problem with voter apathy and disgust over elections where there are no new ideas or faces," noted Kathay Feng, Executive Director of California Common Cause. "A Clean Money system levels the playing field for more qualified candidates with diverse points of view and backgrounds to run."

The "Clean Money" system of public financing of elections is similar to those already adopted in Maine and Arizona, where the system has lowered overall campaign spending, freed candidates from fundraising, increased turnout, and encouraged more qualified people to run including women and minorities.

"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."

In addition, Proposition 89 has gained the support of the Consumer Federation of California.

"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," CFC's Executive Director Richard Holober stated. "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."

Daily updates on the initiative campaign's progress can be found at the Proposition 89 Blog.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Four Leading Seniors Organizations Endorse Prop. 89

Adding their voices to the growing list of individuals and organizations calling for an end to pay-to-play politics, four of California's top senior advocate organizations formally endorsed Proposition 89, the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act.

The California Alliance for Retired Americans, the Congress of California Seniors, the Gray Panthers of California, and the Senior Action Network have all recently endorsed the initiative designed to establish a voluntary "Clean Money" system for full public funding of election campaigns modeled upon successful programs already in place in Arizona and Maine and recently adopted by Connecticut. Proposition 89 additionally would tighten existing campaign finance limits and disclosure requirements.

"We are old enough to see how politics has changed as the influence of money has increased. Huge campaign contributions have become political bribery and sparked political corruption. We, the citizens, are not just losing our voice, we are losing our Democracy," declared Mary Magill of the Gray Panther's Sacramento chapter. "Proposition 89 offers us hope that we can clean up the corruption in Sacramento and make sure our government works for voters, not for donors."

Hank Lacayo, president of the Congress of California Seniors proclaimed, "As consumers who often live on fixed incomes, seniors battle special interests and big corporations every day to get fair laws to protect consumers. We support Proposition 89 because it will eliminate the corrosive affect of big special interest donations and help level the legislative playing field."

Susan Lerner, executive director of the California Clean Money Action Fund, one of the main organizations supporting the initiative added, "Seniors have had enough. Like the rest of Californians, they are tired of all the scandals involving money in politics. We look forward to working with these four strong groups to pass Prop. 89 to ensure we have fair elections and an accountable government."

Friday, August 18, 2006

Batman Fights for Clean Campaigning

Bat Signal Shines Light on Schwarzenegger Fundraiser, Alerts Public to Political Corruption
Batman made a cameo appearance last night for California’s political reform initiative, Proposition 89. While Arnold Schwarzenegger was inside raising funds from special interests in exchange for policies that benefit those vested interests at the expense of everyday Californians, Batman arrived outside—and projected his 40-foot high logo on the outside of the building where Schwarzenegger was having his event.

“When politicians like Schwarzenegger sell access to events, it's the people of California who pay the real price. Patients today can't afford healthcare, schools fail our students, and oil companies foul our environment. That's why we're here shining the 89 logo on this fundraiser--to let the people of California know there's hope for change in our broken political system.,” said Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director of the California Nurses Association, the proponents of Prop. 89.

During his time in office, Schwarzenegger has become a national symbol of the need for campaign finance reform. Despite promising to clean up Sacramento, he has broken all records for political fundraising, and in return has offered Big Oil, Big Drug, Big Insurance and other corporations unprecedented influence over government policy. Prop. 89 sets tough limits on contributions from corporations, unions and individuals and bans contributions to candidates by lobbyists and state contractors. It establishes public financing for candidates who reject private money, and contains tough penalties for candidates who break the law, including jail time and removal from office.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Proposition 89

1) Strict contribution and expenditure limits
Prop 89 ends the fundraising madness with constitutional limits so regular voters aren’t drowned out by big money.
* Bans contributions from lobbyists and state contractors
* Limits contributions from corporations, unions, and individuals to state candidates
* Limits corporation donations to initiatives to $10,000

2) Clean Money public financing of political campaigns

Prop 89 levels the playing field so new candidates can win on their ideas, not because of the money they raise.
* Candidates who agree to spending limits and to take no private contributions qualify for public funding
* $5 contributions from voters required to prove viability
* Clean candidates receive enough to run competitive campaigns. They can't raise money beyond public funds

3) Tough disclosure and enforcement for politicians
Prop 89 stops candidates from hiding behind negative ads and punishes politicians who violate the law.
* Makes wealthy self-funded candidates disclose the amount of personal funds they will spend
* Publicly financed candidates must engage in debates
* Imposes mandatory jail time and provides for removal from office of candidates who break the law.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Proposition 89 Supporters

Statewide Organizations

California Clean Money Campaign

Non-Profit, non-partizan organization whose mission is building statewide support for public funding of election campaigns.

California Church IMPACT

The legislative advocacy arm of the California Council of Churches, representing over 1.5 million church members throughout California.

California Common Cause

Non-profit, non-partisan organization whose purpose is make public officials and public institutions accountable and responsive to citizens.

California Nurses Association

Representing over 65,000 nurses in 165 facilities throughout California. Official sponsors of Proposition 89.

Consumer Federation of California

A powerful voice that campaigns for state and federal laws that place consumer protection ahead of corporate profit.

Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights

A nationally recognized consumer group fighting corrupt corporations and crooked politicians since 1985.

California Alliance for Retired Americans

Statewide organization that unites retired workers and community groups to win social and economic justice

California Black Chamber of Commerce

Business advocate assisting small and large businesses connect the donts for business growth and development.

California Democratic Council

The statewide association of Democratic Clubs and County Committees representing the grassroots of the Democratic Party

Congress of California Seniors

Statewide organization providing educational programs and information to improve the life of older adults

Courage Campaign

Empowering California's progressive community with an aspirational vision.

Environmental Caucus of the California Democratic Party

Works to assure that the California Democratic Party promotes sound environmental policies

Planning and Conservation League

Statewide coalition devoted to making California a better place to live by sponsoring environmental initiatives.

Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party

Works to assure that the California Democratic Party promotes government for the benefit of the people.

Committed to ending the undue political influence of well-funded interests on our democracy.

Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry Action Network, CA

Statewide justice ministry that serves to empower the moral voice of Unitarian Universalist values in the public arena.

National Organizations

Public Campaign

National organization dedicated reducing the role of big special interest money in American politics.

Code Pink

A women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement.

Global Exchange

An international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world.

Greenlining Institute

Coalition of Asian/Pacific Island, Black, and Latino leaders working to improve the quality of life for low-income and minority communities.

Senior Action Network

Grass-roots advocacy organization devoted to organizing and empowering seniors to influence public policy.

Non-partisan watchdog committed to exposing the role of big money in politics.

William C. Velasquez Institute

Nonpartisan organization conducting research aimed at improving the level of political and economic participation in Latino and other underrepresented communities

Working Assets

National group established to help busy people make a difference in the world through everyday activities like talking on the phone

Regional Organizations


Phil Angelides

California State Treasurer and Democratic Nominee for Governor

Loni Hancock

State Assemblymember. Author of AB 583, the Clean Money bill that made it farther in the legislature than any other in years.

Debra Bowen

State Senator and Democratic Nominee for Secretary of State

Gavin Newsom

Mayor of San Francisco

Sheila Kuehl

State Senator

Jackie Speier

State Senator

Judy Chu

State Assemblymember

Ed Chavez

State Assemblymember

Wilma Chan

State Assemblymember

Jackie Goldberg

State Assemblymember

Paul Koretz

State Assemblymember

Dave Jones

State Assemblymember

Mark Leno

State Assemblymember

Pedro Nava

State Assemblymember

Lois Wolk

State Assemblymember

Tom Ammiano

San Francisco Board of Supervisors

John Burton

Former Senate Pro Tem

Renee Chavez

Mayor of La Puente

Ed Herrera

Candidate for Sweetwater Union High School District Board

Forrest Hill

Green Party Candidate for Secretary of State

Sue Lempert

Former Mayor of San Mateo

Kevin McKeown

Santa Monica City Councilmember

Ross Mirkarmi

San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Aaron Peskins

President, San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Kyrsten Sinema

Cleanly-elected Arizona Representative

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Phil Angelides and Proposition 89

California Nurses Association:
Angelides Endorses Proposition 89 - Says voting yes to Clean Elections is "the right thing to do"
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides today endorsed Proposition 89, the sweeping political reform initiative on the November ballot. Angelides made the announcement at a press conference where he was joined by leaders of the California Nurses Association, and Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, author of a bill that had sought to establish a similar reform through the legislature.

The initiative would establish tough limits on campaign contributions by corporations, unions or individuals, bar contributions by lobbyists and state contractors and establish a voluntary system of public financing of campaigns.

"I've thought a lot about this initiative, and it’s the right thing for California," Angelides said at a press conference held at CNA’s Oakland, Calif. headquarters. “It’s time in California to return to true democracy, where the power of a person’s beliefs again reigns supreme…Prop. 89 is the best shot we have at doing that. So I’m going to fight hard for this with each and every one of you."

"The special interests - big oil companies, drug companies, insurance companies, HMOs -- spend millions of dollars hoping to earn special favors like tax breaks and corporate tax loopholes," Angelides said in a statement handed out at the event. "It has become a dialing-for-dollars democracy, with the unjust influence of these special interests silencing the voices of Californians. The people of California deserve a state government worthy of their trust, one that hears the voices and attends to the needs of hard-working families, not the special interests."

CNA President Deborah Burger, RN, and CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro praised Angelides for supporting Prop 89, the Clean Money and Fair Elections Act.

"You dared stick your head above the crowd," DeMoro said to Angelides. “The entrenched special interests who are against this like the status quo or they fear change.”

Hancock noted that she has worked for clean elections reform because "I know it doesn’t have to be that way. Other states have passed Clean Money and they’ve changed the way they do business. I want to thank CNA for carrying the ball down the field and qualifying this initiative in record time. Remember, Clean Money is the reform that makes all other reforms possible."

A wide range of campaign finance reform groups has already endorsed Prop. 89, including: the League of Women Voters of California, the California Clean Money Campaign, Public Campaign, Common Cause of California, and the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.
Angelides Endorses Clean Money Initiative - Democratic Nominee Urges Californians to Vote Yes on Proposition 89

SACRAMENTO, CA - California State Treasurer and Democratic nominee for Governor Phil Angelides today endorsed the Clean Money Initiative, Proposition 89 on the November ballot.

"I am proud to join the ranks of California Nurses Association, The League of Women Voters, California Common Cause and so many others in supporting Proposition 89 - the Clean Money Initiative," said Angelides who was joined by California Nurses Association President Deborah Burger and Assemblywoman Loni Hancock. "It is time for the people of California to clean up the influence of money in our government. Our government should answer to the voices of Californians, not corporate special interests."

Modeled after successful laws now in place in Arizona, Maine and other jurisdictions, Proposition 89 would provide public financing to candidates who:

* Reject private fundraising (except for a small amount of seed money) and agree to limit spending
to the amount provided by the public;
* Demonstrate broad-based public support by gathering a set number of signatures and $5 qualifying donations (from 750 - $5 contributions for an Assembly candidate to 25,000 - $5 contributions for a candidate for Governor); and
* Participate in at least one primary and two general election debates.

Nearly three years ago in his campaign for Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger said, "I will go to Sacramento and I will clean house. I don't have to take money from anybody. I have plenty of money." However, as Governor, Schwarzenegger has accepted more than $94 million in campaign contributions.

"The special interests - big oil companies, drug companies, insurance companies, HMOs - spend millions of dollars hoping to earn special favors like tax breaks and corporate tax loopholes," Angelides added. "It has become a dialing-for-dollars democracy, with the unjust influence of these special interests silencing the voices of Californians. The people of California deserve a state government worthy of their trust, one that hears the voices and attends to the needs of hard-working families, not the special interests."

Angelides has supported campaign finance reform in the past, including Assembly Bill 583, the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act, authored by Assemblymember Loni Hancock.