Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is America A Great Country or What?

This video is courtesy of the CBS affiliate WBZ-TV in Boston. It is presented here without comment. All I ask is that while you watch the videos that you consider our entitlement system, our immigration system, and our legal system. Does the system as practiced make sense and does it meet the goals for which is was designed? Do her views possibly explain the policies and practices of the current Administration?

In the President's defense, I fully understand deadbeat relatives. But, to the best of my knowledge, none is currently violating any laws. Likewise, the President is toughing it out having only declared only $5.5 MILLION in adjusted gross income and himself living in taxpayer-provided housing.

Favorite line: "If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen."

Part 1:

Part 2:

See also ...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others ...

Cookie Monster of Sesame Street fame teaches children how to spot important difference while singing his equally-famous "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others" song. Let's see if we can spot any differences in how most Californians think about redistricting.

There were two -- count 'em two! -- redistricting measures on the November 2010 ballot in California. One, Proposition 20, extended existing redistricting reforms by empowering the Citizens Redistrict Commission to draw U.S. Congressional districts. Proposition 20 passed with a 60% plus majority.

The second redistricting initiative on the ballot was Proposition 27. Proposition 27's aim was to eliminate the Citizens Redistricting Commission and to return redistricting control back to the California Legislature. Why was this a bad idea? First, the California Legislature is dominated by one party with nearly a 2-to-1 majority. Second, everybody remembers the horrible job that the Legislature did drawing the 2001 political district lines. Proposition 27 was funded by 25 self-serving incumbent politicians and their well-connected, big-money party donors--many from outside of California! No surprise, Californians rejected Proposition 27, also by nearly a 60% majority.

At the county level, both Proposition 20 and Proposition 27 were nearly universally approved or rejected statewide. Note the key word, "nearly." One county, and only one county, voted completely opposite of all the others. See if you can spot which one. Look carefully.
Spot the difference yet? Look along the West coast (the left edge) mid-way up the state.

San Francisco county was the only California county to oppose Proposition 20 and support Proposition 27.

Initial Reflection on California 2010 Election Results

As a fourth-generation Californian and a fiscal conservative, I am obviously disappointed by the 2010 election results. I have little respect for Jerry Brown and even lower expectations from his second Gubernatorial administration. I cannot fathom how Californians could re-elect Senator Boxer, but I do acknowledge their hesitation with Carly Fiorina (I supported Tom Campbell in the primary). Are these really the best leaders that California can produce?

Fortunately, there were a few positives from the election.

First and foremost, the naked power grab by the Democratic Party oligarchy in California, Proposition 27, failed at the ballot box by nearly a 60% majority. Proposition 27's aim was to disband the Citizens Redistricting Commission and to return redistricting decisions to the California Legislature, currently dominated by the Democrats with a nearly 2-to-1 majority. Proposition 27 was funded by many well-connected, big money donors to the Democratic Party, many from outside California! For more information, see ...

Proposition 27 Revealed!

Interestingly, the electorate not only defeated Proposition 27 but also passed Proposition 20 by a 60%+ majority. Proposition 20 increased the power and scope of the Citizens Redistricting Commission by expanding their redistricting responsibilities to include U.S. Congressional districts. This has big implications for future elections especially given the changes in the 2010 Census. As evidence that redistricting reform is needed, just look at how many California incumbents were re-elected in a year when other states removed long-standing incumbents from office. The poster boy for redistricting reform is 20-term Congressman Pete Stark, who received over 95% of his campaign contributions from out-of-state political action committees (PACs). Does he work for his constituents or for his benefactors?

Bill Lockyer was re-elected state Treasurer. Interestingly, in an 2009 address to the California Legislature he said, "Particularly I would say to the Democrats, in an era when we aren't going to have tax increases, give it up. Figure out how to be more efficient about spending the money we've got."

His words were prescient about other California 2010 election results.
  • Proposition 21 failed. There will be no additional car fees to pay for state parks (although I supported this one).
  • Proposition 22 passed. The state can no longer raid local governments for funds.
  • Proposition 24 failed. There will be no repeal of earlier corporate tax breaks.
  • Proposition 26 passed. Fee increases now require a 2/3rd majority vote, just like taxes.
California's future will be interesting, to say the least. Over the last decade, California's government spending increased both as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP, or the size of the economy) and per person, adjusted for inflation (shown here as constant 2005 dollars).

The state's taxpayers still face a massively underfunded state employee pension problem along with dwindling tax revenues. The pension problem was spawned by the California Legislature when it approved overly generous pension benefits with SB 400 passed in 1999. Ahhhh, yes. Remember 1999? We were all going to get rich selling dog food from our web site--and then the Internet bubble popped. Californians and California businesses long ago adjusted to that economic reality. California's state government and pension system has yet to confront either the economic reality of the 2000 Internet bubble or the 2008 sub-prime mortgage bubble.

It's impossible for this Legislature to reform the pension system and if we don't, we bankrupt the state.
And I don't think anybody can do it here because of who elected you. You're just captive of the current environment. I don't see any way out.
It really inspires confidence and provides hope for the future, doesn't it? What exactly did Bill Lockyer mean when he said, "I don't think anybody can do it here because of WHO elected you"? Who elected the California Legislators? Wasn't it the people? Or, was Bill Lockyer merely acknowledging the people that PAID to elect many of the California Legislature--namely public sector unions. After all, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California State Council of Service Employees (a.k.a. SEIU) are the two largest spenders in California politics, attempting to influence voters and public officials. See the full list on page 10 in the following document.

Big Money Talks: California's Billion Dollar Club

After the 2010 election, California Democrats now have nearly unanimous control of the State of California, including the following offices.
  • Governor (Jerry Brown)
  • Lt. Governor (Gavin Newsom)
  • Secretary of State (Debra Bowen)
  • Controller (John Chiang)
  • Treasurer (Bill Lockyer)
  • Attorney General (likely at the time of this writing)
  • Insurance Commissioner (Dave Jones)
  • A nearly two-thirds majority in the California Senate
  • A nearly two-thirds majority in the California Assembly
California Democrats now OWN the government's response to success or failure of the California economy going forward. I hope and pray that they can show real leadership in addressing state's many daunting challenges. First and foremost, they must confront their traditional allies in California's public sector unions and adjust California's budget to reflect economic reality.

Personally, I expect conditions to deteriorate as more California taxpayers and businesses move to other states or at least leave California's taxation authority.

For a great read on how California arrived in this horrible situation, I recommend ...

The Golden State’s War on Itself: How politicians turned the California Dream into a nightmare

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Fake Latino Reform Group Appears in Nevada

Apparently the Nevada Angle/Reid Senate race is going ugly. First, it was radio ads against Sharron Angle from a fake Tea Party group called The Patriot Majority, funded by labor unions and Harry Reid supporters. Now, radio ads urging Hispanics not to vote in the upcoming election come from a fake reform group called Latinos for Reform.

There is scant Federal Elections Commission (FEC) data on this group, although has some information.

Latinos for Reform: Overview

Donor List

An alternate source of information is from Their data matches the information.

From the information, it appears that the organization raised most of their money in 2008 and spent all but about $25,000. According to NPR, the group ran advertisements against candidate Obama in the 2008 Presidential race. The NPR article also indicates that Latinos for Reform has connections to a Republican political consultant named Robert Posada.

Searching for the address at the bottom of the Latinos for Reform web page, yields hits to one of the contributors of record for Latinos for Reform. The address itself appears to be in rural Virginia.

One Marketing & Research Inc.
205 North Berry Lane
Madison, VA 22727

The company appears not have an independent web site. Searching for One Marketing & Research yields a LinkedIn profile for one Robert Posada of One Marketing &Research.

Robert Posada's name appears on a 2008 IRS filing for Latinos for Reform. Robert de Posada is listed as the "contact person" on line 6a. Similarly, Robert Garcia de Posada of One Marketing & Research Inc. is listed as a contributor on page 2, 6th contributor from the top.

Here's a classic Jimmy Kimmel send up on the situation.

See also …

Soquel by the Creek, “A Fake Tea Party Group Appears in Nevada

NPR, “Promoting An Ethnic Wedge Issue,” October 24, 2008

Fire Dog Lake, “Latinos for Reform Run By Bush Pioneers and Appointees

Huffington Post, “GOP-Linked 'Latinos For Reform' Airs Nevada Ads Urging Hispanics Not To Vote

Talking Points Memo (TPM), “Just Coming Right Out & Saying It

Talking Points Memo (TPM), "Maker Of Ad Telling Latinos Not To Vote Has Long History In GOP"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Resources for Tracking Campaign Spending

A variety of people have requested information on how to track campaign spending. Here are a few of my personal favorites. I would love to hear if you have others to suggest.

Center for Responsive Politics

My all-time favorite tracking tool for campaign spending is, run by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Their search engine could use some work, but the information is generally there for those willing to dig a little deeper.

Here are some of the things that you can find.

Influence Explorer

Influence Explorer is a great tool courtesy of the Sunlight Foundation. It doesn't provide as much detail as, but it's a great starting point to see overall spending and relationships.

The web site is another great resource. I find it particularly useful for tracking Californian politicians, my home state. Here are some of the things that I can find using MAPLight.
Influence Tracker

Influence Tracker is a fun tool courtesy of Wired Magazine, MAPLight, and Enter the name of a federal-level politician, last name first. It then creates a web page showing the contributions to the politician and (my personal favorite), a NASCAR-like shirt with the logos of the largest contributors.

The text box in the lower left corner includes code so that you can embed the result in your own website. Here's an example screen capture for Harry Reid, who is running for U.S. Senate in Nevada.

Don't confuse Influence Tracker with Influence Explorer listed above.

National Institute on Money in State Politics is another good site that is very complementary to, which focuses primarily on national races.

I find the site itself difficult, but it often comes up during Google searches. It only shows contributions to a campaign, and not spending with a PAC or a 527 committee.

I find it easiest to enter a search string directly in the browser address field. For example, here is a search for George Soros spending during the current election cycle. This gives you the general pattern. is a great resource for tracking campaign spending in California. It's fairly simplistic, but timely and easy.

For example, I used the specific page on those funding Yes on Proposition 27 to write a recent article revealing how the donors supporting Proposition 27 are well-connected to a single political party. It's easy to search for a specific donor or amount.

Federal Election Commission (FEC)

The Federal Election Commission web site is the ultimate resource for tracking federal elections spending, including PACs and 572s.
Internal Revenue Service
California Secretary of State

The ultimate resource for tracking campaign spending in California is the Secretary of State's office. Likely, there are similar sites for other states.

For example, I needed historical data on those funding opposition to 2005's Proposition 77, a previous attempt at redistricting reform.


The Huffington Post FundRace tool is another tracking tool for campaign donations. It has some relatively good top-level tracking tools on where money is going by occupation and city.


Here's an oldie but goodie from NPR dated from 2008. NPR has had some good journalism about "shadow money" (examples here and here), but I do have some concerns about possible corrupting influence going forward due to the Soros/Open Society Foundation investment.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Fake Tea Party Group Appears in Nevada

[updated 24-OCT-2010]

While listening to The Jerry Doyle Show via the web from a Las Vegas radio station KDWN, I heard a political advertisement from a supposed Tea Party group against Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle and supporting another candidate named Scott Ashjian. The group called themselves The Patriot Majority PAC, which certainly sounds like a Tea Party organization. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Patriot Majority has spent over $831,000 against Sharron Angle as of October 15, 2010.

Here is an audio clip of the ad, although this one is slightly different than the one that I heard. This is the raw feed, including the preamble information probably used by the radio station.

Having never heard of the group, I searched for them on I found little available yet, except for a blog post, describing the organization (look for the group's logo). also lists the independent expenditures so far. There is a well-funded 527 organization with a similar name with significant contributions in 2010 and 2008 from AFSCME and SEIU.

Okay, so now it's off to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) web site.

According to required financial disclosures, The Patriot Majority PAC received nearly $2 million as of 23-OCT-2010.

Looking through the FEC disclosures, I find the following major contributors of $10,000 or more.

3. Guy David Gundlach: $300,000
4. MGM Resorts and MGM Mirage: $300,000
9. Carpenter's Legislative Improvement Committee, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners: $60,000
10. San Pablo Lytton Casino (San Pablo, CA): $50,000
11. Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) PAC: $20,000

According to FEC filings, The Patriot Majority PAC "committee will not use those funds to make contributions, whether direct, in-kind, or via coordinated communications, to federal candidates or committees." It's funny how everybody aware of the system knows that this is baloney.

Let's look again at the major donors. More than a few are associated with major labor unions that are listed on the list of major political donors, known as the Heavy Hitters list. Here are a few examples.
  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is #11 on the Heavy Hitters list with 95% of their contributions going to Democrats.
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is #13 on the Heavy Hitters list with 98% of their contributions going to Democrats.
  • American Association for Justice (AAJ) is #6 on the Heavy Hitters list with 90% of their contributions going to Democrats.
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners is #12 on the Heavy Hitters list with 89% of their contributions going to Democrats.
What about individual donors? Do they primarily donate to Democrats?
  • According to, Guy David Gundlach, who gave $300,000 to The Patriot Majority, also gave $2,400 to Harry Reid's campaign (the maximum legally allowed) and $10,000 to the Democratic Party of Nevada. Harry Reid is the incumbent Senator in Nevada running against Sharron Angle. A person of the same name also gave $2,400 to Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, a Democrat, but the donation was from a California address. Likewise, Guy David Gundlach also gave $12,400 to the Reid Nevada Fund (see page 28, first contributor).
  • According to, gives exclusively to Democrats in 2010 and primarily to Democrats in 2008.
  • According to Influence Explorer, Clean Energy Fuels Corporation gives primarily to Republicans, but has supported Harry Reid.
  • According to Influence Explorer, Harrah's Entertainment, which may be different than Harrah's Operating Company, is a major contributor to Harry Reid.
  • According to Influence Explorer, MGM Mirage was a major donor to both Senator Harry Reid and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, although their political contributions were fairly evenly balanced between parties.
  • One strange member of the list is the San Pablo Lytton Casino in California, which is apparently part of the Lytton Rancheria Of California. I'm not sure what interest they have in this fight other than the casino owners obviously have connections to Nevada casinos.
I also looked up to see who owns the web domain for The Patriot Majority.

The site is registered to "Craig Varoga" with an "" E-mail address. Craig Varoga is also the Treasurers name for the FEC filings. Who is Craig Varoga? According to the Independent Strategies web site ...

Craig Varoga is a national political strategist whose presidential experience includes managing former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack’s campaign for president, serving as national field director for retired Four Star General Wesley Clark, managing the Texas Truth Squad in 2000 and running the state-research program for the Clinton-Gore re-election. ... During the 1990s, Varoga served as communications director to Senator Harry Reid .... Partner at Varoga & Associates and founder of the Patriot Majority, Varoga writes a monthly column ("Ask the Campaign Doctor") for Campaigns & Elections magazine.
But still, who is Craig Varoga? According to a Michelle Malkin post from April, 2010.
Before them, it was Craig Varoga--a shady Democrat political operative and overseer of a convoluted, money-shuffling web of 527s. He launched in January to target Republicans who supported the Tea Party movement and to prevent the "radical" and "dangerous" fiscal accountability agenda from "gaining legislative traction."
Joseph Abrams also wrote about Craig Varoga and friends back in February, 2010.
Here's how it works: What appears like a local groundswell is in fact the creation of two men -- Craig Varoga and George Rakis, Democratic Party strategists who have set up a number of so-called 527 groups, the non-profit election organizations that hammer on contentious issues (think Swift Boats, for example).

Varoga and Rakis keep a central mailing address in Washington, pulling in soft money contributions from unions and other well-padded sources to engage in what amounts to a legal laundering system. The money -- tens of millions of dollars -- gets circulated around to different states by the 527s, which pay for TV ads, Internet campaigns and lobbyist salaries, all while keeping the hands of the unions clean -- for the most part.
And this whitewash is entirely legal, say election law experts, who told that this arrangement more or less the norm in Washington.

"It's not illegal but it is, I think, dishonest on the part of the organizations," said Paul Ryan, a legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. "And there's a reason they do it: they know voters don't like outsiders coming in to sway the vote."
Outside of that firm, the center of their activity appears to be a single office in Southeast D.C. -- 300 M Street, Suite 1102 -- which plays host to a sprawling political shell game they have established.

Public records show at least seven political shops listed in Suite 1102, most of which are essentially clones of one another, but all of which have offered money -- from measly thousands to game-changing millions -- in state-level elections across the country:
The APPC, which developed the anti-tea party ads, has gotten all of its money for 2010 from Patriot Majority and from Citizens for Progress, which is also called Patriot Majority West.
The 300 M Street, Suite 1102, Washington DC address appears to be the current address for political law firm Sandler Reiff & Young and for business law and litigation firm Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler. The "Sandler" in both firms are cousins Paul Mark Sandler of Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler and Joseph E. Sandler of Sandler Reiff & Young. Paul Mark Rosen of Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler has been involved in high-profile campaign law cases.

USA Today: "Feds probe for Clinton campaign violations", October, 2004.

Talk about Astroturf, I'm calling this one TOTALLY BUSTED! on The Patriot Majority. By all measures, this is a sham Tea Party group and is purposefully deceptive. Anybody from The Patriot Majority care to refute these findings? For you Sarah Palin fans, refute means refudiate. :-)

Source Data
See also ...

NEW:, "Shape-Shifting by Liberal Dark Money Groups Seems Meant to Confuse"

Center for Public Integrity, "Craig Varoga"

Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Reid, Angle even on campaign cash"

MSNBC (30-MAR-2010)

SF Weekly, "Jackpot: How four tiny Indian tribes, with help from powerful gambling interests, are trying to transform the Bay Area into a slot machine Mecca," October 27, 2004. Article about the Lytton Casino and Indian gaming in California.

Craig Varoga, Varoga & Associates: This site looks nearly identical to the Independent Strategies web site.

The Big Spenders Behind the Scenes

Many political pundits and even the President and Vice-President themselves are decrying the amount of money being spent behind the scenes in the 2010 election. I happen to agree, as I have been concerned about this for about a decade now. Nearly half a trillion dollars, some $480 million, was spent just on 527 committee activity in the 2004, 2006, 2008, and so far in the 2010 elections.

However, look at who and which organizations are spending behind the scenes by examining the contribution to 527 political organizations, otherwise known as "soft money." This money is not subject to the same legal constraints as direct contributions to a state or national candidate.

Fortunately, organizations like the Center for Responsive Politics ( scour the required campaign disclosure statements and publish the results.

Here are the total for the top contributors to 527 committees for the time period covering the 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 election cycles. Obviously, not all the 2010 contributions are included as the 2010 election is still in progress.

A few things are notable from the table and chart.
It is also interesting to see the contributions by election cycle. It becomes obvious that SEIU is the dominant 527 committee donor. It also becomes obvious of the huge sums spent in the 2004 and 2008 elections, which were Presidential election years.

See also ...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Useful Information for Under-taxed Individuals

Despite ample evidence (here, here, and here) that wealthier taxpayers already pay the bulk of U.S. taxes, a number of supposedly wealthy commentators and bloggers believe that they are under-taxed and should be forced to pay more taxes. I say, why wait for Congress to take action? If you truly believe that the government is the best and most-prudent investment of your hard-earned income, you can make additional voluntary contributions now.

1. Decide not to declare any deductions and not take any exemptions or credits on your federal income tax return. This will immediately boost your adjusted gross income (AGI) and increase the amount of taxes owed. For example, if you have a large mortgage on your home, do not take the deduction allowed on mortgage interest. Do not write off other taxes that you might have already paid. WARNING: Your accountant may question your sanity.

2. Give directly to the United States Government. Here's how, courtesy of the United States Treasury web site. Okay, in full disclosure, you are not actually paying additional income tax but you are helping to reduce the tremendous $13 TRILLION+ national debt, which reduces current and future interest payments paid by the government. Reducing interest payments frees those funds so that the government can spend on other programs.

How do you make a contribution to reduce the debt?

There are two ways for you to make a contribution to reduce the debt:
  1. You can make a contribution online either by credit card, checking or savings account at
  2. You can write a check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and in the memo section, notate that it's a Gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public. Mail your check to:
Attn Dept GBureau of the Public DebtP. O. Box 2188Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188
Alternatively, you can provide your money as a gift to the United States Government.

Gifts to the United States Government

How do I make a contribution to the U.S. government?
Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the U.S. government may send contributions to a specific account called "Gifts to the United States." This account was established in 1843 to accept gifts, such as bequests, from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States. Money deposited into this account is for general use by the federal government and can be available for budget needs. These contributions are considered an unconditional gift to the government. Financial gifts can be made by check or money order payable to the United States Treasury and mailed to the address below.
Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782
Any tax-related questions regarding these contributions should be directed to the Internal Revenue ServiceExit the FMS Web site at (800) 829-1040.
If you do decide to donate or provide a gift to the United States Government, please let me know via the comment section or send me an E-mail. Any donation larger than $250 will receive a personal "Thank You!" from me, another average citizen. Also, please let me know if you would like your name added to the Honor Roll below.

[updated 3-AUGUST-2011]

The following individuals have contributed $250 or more to reduce the national debt and to help reduce the cost burden of the United States Government for all Americans. On behalf of all Americans, you have our thanks and gratitude!


See Also ...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Proposition 27 Revealed!

[NOTE: This is a work in progress, updated last on 3-NOV-2010, 10:15 AM. Revision history at end.]

THANK YOU Californians! Together, we defeated this naked power grab by the party and politicians currently in power. Proposition 27 failed by nearly a 60% margin!


  • Proposition 27 appears on the November 2010 ballot in California.
  • If passed, Proposition 27 would essentially eliminate the redistricting reforms created by 2008's Proposition 11 and return the responsibility of redrawing political boundaries back to the California State Legislature.
  • The California Legislature is dominated by members of a single political party with nearly a 2-to-1 majority.
  • Every major California newspaper recommends NO on PROPOSITION 27.
  • In an apparent naked power grab, twenty-six (26) self-serving incumbent Californian politicians, all Democrats, support and fund the committee in favor of Proposition 27.
  • The list of politicians includes the current U.S. Speaker of the House and both the current and former Speakers of the California Assembly.
  • Many of the U.S. Congressional Representatives on the list are also members of the Congresional Progressive Caucus, who typically represent the far-left wing of the Democratic Party.
  • Big-money donors to the Democratic party are major contributors, including a $2,000,000 ($2 MILLION) donation from billionaire media mogul Haim Saban. Controversial billionaire investor George Soros is also a major contributor. At least four billionaires have contributed.
  • Labor unions, a traditional ally of the Democratic Party, are also major contributors, including $1,250,000 ($1.25 MILLION) from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union, $1 MILLION from the American Federation of Teachers union, and $500,000 from a front organization for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners union, and $200,000 from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
  • Many of the poltician's campaigns are also directly funded by the same unions.
  • The California Democratic Party also contributed $375,000.
  • Many of those funding Proposition 27 also funded the campaign against the 2005 redistricting reform, or No on Prop. 77.


Remember when the Democratic Party represented the common man? Remember when the Democratic Party fought to empower "The People"? Remember when the Democratic Party fought against the big money that corrupts politics? California's ballot Proposition 27 reveals the true face of the modern California Democratic Party, currently dominated by Progressives! The hypocrisy behind Proposition 27 is staggering, even by California standards.

What is Proposition 27? According to the California Legislative Analyst's Office, it is designed to block the necessary reforms mandated by an earlier ballot proposition, Proposition 11. Proposition 11 empowers a balanced, non-partisan Citizens Redistricting Commission to redraw the highly-Gerrymandered political districts in California.

Why did Californians pass Proposition 11 that created the Citizens Redistricting Commission?

  • Many California citizens felt that their state assembly and senate districts were Gerrymandered by Legislators to ensure that incumbent politicians were guaranteed re-election in non-competitive elections.
  • Many citizens felt that public-employee and union money unduly influenced California's elections and Legislators.
  • Many citizens wanted control for drawing political districts removed from the Legislature and placed in the hands of a non-partisan citizens commissions.

The people and organizations that are financing support for Proposition 27 are a very interesting and revealing mix of the Democratic Party establishment, incumbent California Democratic politicians, labor unions, and secretive big-money donors to ... you guessed it ... the Democratic Party.

The list of donors supporting Proposition 27 is available here and is updated as public-disclosure forms are filed.

Here is another source for the same information, courtesy of the California Secretary of State.

Democratic Party Establishment

The California Democratic Party contributed directly to support Proposition 27. Why? Because the Democratics apparently have the most to lose in free and fair elections. The party has carefully cobbled together a financing support network with various labor interests.

Democratic State Central Committee of California

  • $375,000 contribution
Incumbent California Democratic Politicians

Which incumbent Democratic politicians are attempting to protect their political careers in open contradiction to the will of the people? The list includes the current Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the both the current and former Speakers of the California Assembly.

Many of these same politicians are heavily funded by the unions that are funding support for Proposition 27, as listed later. Many of the Congressional Representatives on the list are also members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, whom represent the left-wing of the Democratic Party, known simply as the Progressives.

Why are incumbent politicians funding Proposition 27? They want the old, pre-Proposition 11 redistricting process back to protect their political careers. In an interview with the Orange Counter Register during the 2001 California redistricting process, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, sister of Proposition 27 funder Rep. Linda Sanchez, explained how the gerrymandering system worked:
"Twenty thousand [dollars] is nothing to keep your seat. I spend $2 million [dollars campaigning] every year. If my colleagues are smart, they'll pay their $20,000, and Michael [Berman, brother of Proposition 27 funder Howard Berman] will draw the district they can win in. Those who have refused to pay? God help them."

U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D), 8th Congressional District
U.S. Congressman Xavier Becerra, (D), 31st Congressional District
U.S. Congressman Howard Berman (D), 28th Congressional District
U.S. Congresswoman Lois Capps (D), 23rd Congressional District
  • Friends of Lois Capps: $10,000
  • IBEW, AFSCME, Carpenters & Joiners, Operating Engineers, AFT, and fire fighter unions are major contributors
  • profile for Lois Capps
  • Also contributed to No on Prop. 77
  • The CA-23 district map is perhaps the best example of a highly-Gerrymandered district, covering just select coastal communities. The district is 200 miles long and only 100 yards wide in some places. Voters joke that it sometimes disappears during high tide.
U.S. Congresswoman, Judy Chu (D), 32nd Congressional District
  • TruePAC - Concerned Citizens including Judy Chu to Support Proposition 27: $125,000
  • Judy Chu for Congress: $10,000
  • Possible connections to another $90,000 from the Californians for Trust, Responsibility, Unity, and Empowerment PAC listed below
  • Member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
  • AFT, Carpenters & Joiners, AFSCME, IBEW, and Operating Engineers unions are major contributors
  • profile for Judy Chu
  • Spouse of California Assemblyman Mike Eng, who also funds Proposition 27
  • The CA-32 district map also shows signs of Gerrymandering
U.S. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D), 14th Congressional District
U.S. Congressman Sam Farr (D), 17th Congressional District
U.S. Congressman Mike Honda (D), 15th Congressional District
U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D), 9th Congressional District
U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D), 16th Congressional District
U.S. Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D), 5th Congressional District
U.S. Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D), 37th Congressional District
U.S. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D), 34th Congressional District
U.S. Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D), 39th Congressional District
U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff (D), 29th Congressional District
U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D), 12th Congressional District
U.S. Congresswoman Diane Watson (D), 33rd Congressional District
U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D), 6th Congressional District
U.S. Congressman George Miller (D), 7th Congressional District
State Senator Alex Padilla (D), 20th State Senate District
  • Padilla for Senate: $39,000
  • California 2020 Senator Alex Padilla's Ballot Measure Committee: $21,572
  • AFSCME and California Pipe Trades Council unions are major contributors
California Assembly Speaker, John A. Perez (D), 46th Assembly District
  • Current California Assembly Speaker
  • Building California's Future: John A. Perez Ballot Measure Committee: $49,000
  • California Pipe Trades Council and California Operating Engineers unions are major contributors
Assemblywoman Karen Bass (D), 47th Assembly District
Assembly Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D), 40th Assembly District
  • Bob Blumenfield for Assembly 2010: $85,000
  • California Pipe Trades and Carpenters unions are major contributors
Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D), 58th Assembly District
  • Charles Calderon for Assembly 2010: $100,000
  • California Pipe Trades unions are major contributors
Assemblyman Mike Eng (D), 49th Assembly District
Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D), 39th Assembly District
  • Felipe Fuentes Reform California Ballot Measure Committee: $20,000
  • Fuentes for Assembly 2010: $10,000
  • California Pipe Trades unions are major contributors
Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D), 14th Assembly District
  • Skinner for Assembly 2010: $30,000
  • Electrical Workers, California Pipe Trades, and Operating Engineers are major contributors
Assemblyman Bill Monning (D), 39th Assembly District
  • Friends of Bill Monning: $5,000
  • California Pipe Trades, Electrical Workers, Firefighters, and Teachers unions are major contributors
Labor Unions, a Traditional Ally of California Democrats

The following labor unions are long-time allies of California Democrats and heavily fund the campaigns of the incumbent Democrats listed above. Among the California Congressional Representatives listed, these unions contributed nearly $3.8 million to their campaigns during their careers.

(also view spreadsheet at

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Carpenters and Joiners Union
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
International Association of Fire Fighters
Electrical Workers Unions (IBEW)

Various Electrical Workers unions contributed over $150,000 combined. According to, IBEW contributed over $780,000 to the California Congressional Representatives listed above and is a Top-20 donor to all but two members.
  • The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is a member union of the AFL-CIO
  • California State Association of Electrical Workers: $50,000
  • International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW) Educational Committee: $50,000
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local No. 47: $50,000
  • The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is #6 on the top campaign contributors list, contributing 97% of their member's money to Democrats
  • information page for IBEW
  • Also contributed to No on Prop. 77
Pipe Trade Unions
Teamsters Union
Big Money Contributors to the Democratic Party

The following list is especially ironic given President Obama's apparent concern about groups like Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and the Koch brothers. Is the President more comfortable with this group? Why are so many out-of-state people and organizations attempting to influence California's elections? Oh, the hypocrisy of it all.

Many of the individual donors to Proposition 27 are also big-money contributors to various Democratic Party organizations such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), headed by Speaker Pelosi, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

Perhaps not surprisingly, many of these individuals are also big-money donors to former-President Clinton's foundation. Similarly, George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Harold Ickes were chief organizers of the so-called Shadow Democratic Party and Louise Gund and Fred Eychaner are probable members due to their heavy funding of 527 political organizations that fund Democrat Party causes.

I am an unabashed supporter of Israel. Consequently, I am surprised by many of the pro-Israel connections to the Yes on Proposition 27 effort. I had never heard of Haim Saban until I began researching this article. Surprisingly, many of the incumbent Democrat politicians supporting Proposition 27, in my opinion, do not necessarily support Israel. Howard Berman is perhaps unique in his public support for Israel. For the other politicians, perhaps the pro-Israel lobby hopes to develop a relationship similar to the labor unions. The incumbent Democrats listed above have provided certain political services in return for continued campaign contributions from labor unions. Regardless, I hope this recent trend does not indicate that the Israelis want to influence California state politics!

This following list only includes individuals contributing more than $20,000 as of 30-SEPT-2010. Only contributions exceeding $50,000 are highlighted in red. There are other smaller contributors listed here. The individuals are listed from largest contribution, downward.

Haim Saban
Louise Gund

Peter G. Angelos

George Soros
Edith Wasserman
    Fred Eychaner
    Steven S. Myers
    • $100,000 contribution
    • CEO/Chairman of Dolphin Capital Holdings, Inc.
    • Former CEO of SM&A, a firm that works with companies on government procurement and projects
    • Forbes profile on Steven S. Myers
    • CorporationWiki profile on Steven S. Myers
    • The Full Wiki profile on Steven Myers
    • profile on Steven Myers
    • Contributed $60,400 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2010
    • Contributed $30,400 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in 2010
    Steven R. Zax
    • See $100,000 contribution from Zenith Insurance Company below
    Jack C. Bendheim
    Joseph W. Cotchett
    Kathryn Hall
    C. Paul Johnson
    Stephen Grand
    George M. Marcus
    Stewart ResnickLloyd Thomas Galloway
    Corporate Contributors

    Zenith Insurance Company
    Thirty-O-Seven, Inc.
    Political Action Committees (PACs)

    The following political action committees (PACs) also made contributions, but are not directly associated with either the politicians or unions listed above. The $125,000 from TruePAC was directly associated with Congesswoman Judy Chu.

    Californians for Trust, Responsibility, Unity, and Empowerment PAC
    • $90,000 contribution
    • There is no web site for this PAC
    • Bill Wong, the PAC contact person of record, was former Chief of Staff to Judy Chu when she was a California Assemblywoman. Judy Chu is now a U.S. Congressional Representative
    • Bill Wong, the PAC contact person of record, was Legislative Director to Mike Honda when he was in the California Assembly. Mike Honda is now a U.S. Congressional Representative
    • Bill Wong, the PAC contact person of record, was Chief of Staff and Press Secretary to then State Senator Hilda Solis. Hilda Solis is currently the U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Obama Administration
    • Judy Chu and Mike Honda are current members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
    • Hilda Solis was a former chairperson of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
    Solidarity PAC
    Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
    Déjà vu All Over Again (No on Proposition 77)

    I am sure that it is just an amazing coincidence, but many of those funding Proposition 27 also funded the 2005 redistricting ballot initiative, Proposition 77. Proposition 77 was a previous attempt at redistricting reform that failed at the ballot box. Proposition 77 differed in many ways from Proposition 11, approved by voters in 2008.

    It is interesting that the same names and coalitions arrayed against redistricting reform in 2005 are allied again in 2010 for Proposition 27, whose aim is to eliminate the Proposition 11 reforms.

    Here are some of the other strange and amazing coincidences between Proposition 27 and 2005’s Proposition 77.

    Note to Reader
    • I ask for your NO vote on Proposition 27. Other groups not only advocate for NO on Proposition 27 but also for YES on Proposition 20, which would allow the Citizens Redistricting Commission to redraw the U.S. Congressional districts for California. I have not yet determined my position on Proposition 20.
    • I attempt to be fair and accurate in presenting this information and provide links to my references. If you find an error or believe that I am unfairly presenting the information based on available facts, please let me know via the comments section and I will review the specific information. I will post all comments about corrections unless you specifically ask me not to post your comment.
    • If you know of other information that I am missing on this post, please let me know via the comments section.
    Background Information
    Revision History