Shame On Whom Again? ….

…. Resources for a discussion on the ethics of money in politics with a focus on CA Senate Districts 14 and 34.

CA District 14 and 34 are the two races the HCDCC has chosen to contribute to (so far) heavily after having received large union donations.  A1 and John Fullerton have asked some pointed questions or have some made sharp accusations regarding HCDCC spending.  Here is the context before addressing their concerns.

First a basic primer about the California State Senate.  Here is a map of the Senate districts.  You will find in a little blurb in the legend of the map the fact that 2014 will be the first election post redistricting for the red or even districts.  This includes District 2, even though the election is all but certainly more of a ceremony rather than an election for Sonoma Supervisor Mike McGuire.

The races the HCDCC has contributed to are:

a)  Chavez (D) vs. Vidak (R) in Fresno’s California Senate District 14 .  In the last election in 2010 which was pre-redistricting there was a 47% Republican and 34% Democratic population.  This time District 14, which has moved significantly has 49% Democratic registration to 29% Republican as of 9/5/14.

and b) Solorio (D) vs. Nguyen (R) in Orange County’s District 34.  Pre and Post -re-districting took the voter registration in this district from 44% (D) to 33% (R) to 39% (D) to 34% (R) as of early September.

Below are the contributions as of early yesterday morning including all contributions above $1,000 after 9/30 and all contributions from 7/1/14 to 9/30/14.  As we know from our local election news, all contributions over $100 are itemized.  I’ve included excel spread sheets with all the reported contributions, and for those without access to a spreadsheet, this post ends with screen shots of the candidate’s top donors.

a) CA Sentate District 14:

Vidak for Senate 101514

$1,213,391.49 from 762 contributors.

Chavez for Senate 101614

$1,415,199.28 from 211 contributors.

b) CA Senate District 34

Solorio for Senate 101514

$1,445,804.48 in contributions from 539 contributors.

Nguyen for Senate 101514

$1,498,404 in contributions from 974 contributors.

John and A1, I’ve done most of the hard work for you, all you have to do is click the links so we can have an informed discussion about the ethics of money in politics and who should be pointing and crying “for shame” to whom.

I’d also like to frame the issue with this graph of income inequality (as always) and this graph below of declining worker compensation for increased productivity over the past 30 years (From the working class oriented Economic Policy Institute).  You of course are welcome to link or reference your own charts.

Productivity vs Wages

For those readers without a spreadsheet program (one of the major disadvantages of our push to mobile computing) here are screen shots of the top donors for each of the candidates mentioned above.

District 14:

Vidak (R)

Vidak's Top Contributors

Chavez (D)

Chavez's Top Contributors

District 34:

Nguyen (R)

Nguyen's Top Contributors

Solorio (D)

Solorio's Top Contributors


7 thoughts on “Shame On Whom Again? ….

  1. Anonymous says:

    Did you vote or what? Also, why not use that money locally? You cry foul and say that “conservative” candidates are out fundraising the liberals locally, but look how much you sent out of the area. Maybe spend the money a little wiser.

  2. Did I vote? No b/c I don’t have a vote as I’m a lowly Associate Member. Did the HCDCC vote since I’ve been here? No. There is a standing vote made before my time to have a group or committee make these decisions. Would I have voted for this committee? Before I posted the first one of these a couple of weeks ago – I would have voted no almost surely. Now, I’m heavily leaning yes, but that isn’t a certainty.

    Why not use that money locally? It was donated out of the area and I think it’s entirely fair to spend it out of the area. Imagine if we did commingle that money with our local monies, how bad that would look. I will do what I can during my stint as Treasurer and maybe some day as a Member to make sure not a penny of outside money gets spent locally.

    Also, don’t forget, Humboldt does not exist in a vacuum. Local issues are highly influenced by Sacramento, so there is a strong argument to be made that this is one of the most important and wisest expenses we can make for Humboldt County. Which candidates do you think would be more apt to understand Humboldt should not be drained of it’s water by the thirst south going forward as one example.

    And do follow those links, especially to the Secretary of State’s sight and look up our Republican counterparts and where their money is coming from – PG&E, Anthem Blue Cross, new car dealership associations – the list is endless and the money is endless. What little money power the left has left in unions is critical. It’s an easy target for concern trolling Republicans of course which is why I wanted to add context to this discussion so we are being fair when pointing fingers.

    Also – I cried foul when John Fullerton masked $10,000 of donations (77%) to Measure R in an overt and admitted attempt at anonymity. This is the whole reason we have finance reports – to declare and report who is supporting whom. FOUL!

    Right now, money does rule elections and it’s not illegal, not technically a foul. We should as a people vote in ways to reform this and what the BOS did last week was exactly the wrong way at any meaningful reform.

    Of course any meaningful reform will have to come in the form of public financing and non-activist judges on the Supreme Court. We’ll see. In the mean time – here is a great review of what should be a fascinating book.

    1. Thank you A1. Your conspiracy theories are wonderful.

      Again, I’m really glad your concern is for me an not as an advocate for your own agenda – which is quite clear reviewing your comments through the years.

      I have no doubt that if this came before you as a judge, I would be found liable for this probably “Knowingly and willfully violated the campaign finance laws and regulations,” I’d have a whole bunch of company in the hoosegow to include the Treasures of Republican Ventura County CC, Democratic and Republican California Party CC, etc. etc. etc.

      Read this bought to my attention by hmmm

      There is this “Large donations to and from county parties are legal as long as donors do not tell the parties where to steer their contributions.”

      and to answer the answer of why you asked yesterday


      “Political parties have a vested interest in controlling which candidates receive the most money. Because only a handful of legislative districts are considered competitive between Republicans and Democrats, party leaders focus contributions where they matter.”

      Have you looked at the spending in Districts 14 and 34 so we can have a discussion about…why? or are you simply on a mission to get your point accross that you don’t like union money being spent?

  3. Anonymous says:

    There is this “Large donations to and from county parties are legal as long as donors do not tell the parties where to steer their contributions.”

    I am sure you don’t have any records of them directing where to spend the money, but please, don’t try to take the moral high ground on the $99 donations while you are involved in this scheme.

    Here’s a test: next time donate that money to a local charity and see if you ever get it again. That would be telling, wouldn’t it.

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