Money in Politics
Mid-Term elections are coming up in another week—Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 and we are currently being bombarded by, what seems to me at least, an obscene number of ads. These ads appear on almost every street corner, in newspapers and magazines, on radio, television and the internet. All of these ads take money. This money is contributed by individuals, organizations and corporate entities.
These individuals and others do not contribute money out of the goodness of their hearts but because they hope to get something from that contribution.
Many individuals spend their own money to get elected. Why? Ego? Impose their own standards/beliefs upon others? Think they’re better/know more than others? Gain an economic advantage by voting for things that they think will help them and those like them? (Yes, I know I’m a bit cynical, but haven’t you ever had these thoughts about, at least, one politician?)
Organizations, through their individual members, contribute money to further their own aims. The Democratic and Republican parties funnel millions of dollars to election and re-election campaigns in every state and (nearly) every election. Unions (teamsters, teachers, electricians, etc.), associations (nurses, doctors, dentists, etc.), the ACLU, LLPs (limited liability partnerships-many of them lawyers), etc.
Sometimes you will find an organization contributing money to opponents running against each other. Perhaps, the organization wants to influence the winner, no matter who that is? (Yeah, I know, more cynicism, but can you really believe they do it out of the goodness of their hearts?)
For the current election in California the California Secretary of State’s (Debra Bowen) office maintains a website delineating those organizations and individuals who have spent a large amount of money trying to influence the November 4th, 2014 election. This is the Cal-Access website. It contains quite a bit of information on who and what groups are spending money trying to influence the election.
By clicking on the link to the Top 10 Contributor Lists you can find the Top 10 Contributors to Statewide Ballot Measure Committees and the Campaign Finance Data for All Ballot Measure Committees as well at the same data for individual candidates.
Proposition 1 – Water Bond. Funding for Water Quality, Supply, Treatment, and Storage Projects.
Proposition 2 – State Budget. Budget Stabilization Account. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.
18 individuals and groups listed for supporting and none listed for opposing the above propositions. (Remember, this does not mean that no one opposes these propositions.)
Proposition 45 – Healthcare Insurance. Rate changes. Initiative Statute.
For: Consumer Watchdog Campaign, California Nurses Association, Kathryn Taylor, Consumer Watchdog, Thomas Steyer
Against: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Wellpoint, Inc. and affiliated entities, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Inc., UnitedHealthCare Insurance Company
Follow the money: could it be that the healthcare/insurance industry doesn’t want the state Insurance Commissioner to veto their increases of rates and charges?
Proposition 46 – Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.
For: Consumer Attorneys of California and its sponsored committees, Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, LLP; Brian S. Kabateck, Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Davis, Inc., Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, Shernoff, Bidart, Echeverria, Bentley, LLP
Against: Cooperative of American Physicians IE Committee, The Doctors Company, Norcal Mutual Insurance Company, California Medical Association Physicians’ Issues Committee, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and The Hospitals
Follow the money: maybe the lawyers do want more lawsuits for larger amounts of money and higher fees, and the doctors and insurance companies don’t.
Proposition 47 – Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute.
For: American Civil Liberties Union, Inc., Open Society Policy Center, Hughes, B. Wayne, Atlantic Advocacy Fund, Munger, Molly
10 individuals and groups listed for supporting and none listed for opposing the above proposition. (Remember, this does not mean that no one opposes this proposition.)
Proposition 48 – Indian Gaming Compacts. Referendum.
Against: Table Mountain Rancheria, Brigade Capital Management, LLC through affiliated entities, Chukchansi Economic Development Authority, United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria, Riva Ridge Recovery Fund LLC
10 individuals and groups listed for opposing and none listed for supporting the above proposition. (Remember, this does not mean that no one supports this proposition.)
Follow the money: could it be that other Indian tribes (and maybe Nevada casinos) don’t want the competition?
There is a tremendous amount of information available on this site. All state-wide offices, the Board of Equalization (what a name), the State Senate and Assembly are included. For much of that information you have to dig through several layers, but, if you are interested in following the money, it is well worth the effort.
Be sure to read the fine print.
There is plenty of information about the contributors cited above on the Cal-Access website. Other information is available if you just copy the name and past it into your browser or search engine.
Please, if you are going to vote, cast an intelligent ballot. Do not just rely on television advertising or on the biases of others (or your own biases). Vote to bring about the greatest good or the least harm.
In the interests of openness:
- I am a lifelong Democrat, who on occasion votes Republican
- I am liberal to moderate on social issues
- I am conservative on most economic issues
- I was a teacher in California public schools for forty years and, for most of those years, I was active in my local union
- I am retired
POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage. (From The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce)