Stanford physicist Charles Munger Jr. and his wife were the largest contributors to campaigns for and against nine statewide ballot measures whose fate was decided last week, according to MAPLight.org, a Berkeley campaign research organization.
Munger and his wife, Charlotte Lowell, contributed $12.6 million to the campaigns to pass Proposition 20, which extends the independent redistricting commission's authority to congressional districts, and defeat Proposition 27, which would have abolished the commission.
The Munger position prevailed on both by overwhelming margins. Munger is the son of Charles Munger Sr., the lesser known but still very wealthy partner of business tycoon Warren Buffet. The $12.6 million Munger Jr. and his wife contributed was part of the $147 million that was spent to pass and defeat ballot measures, MAPlight.org said.
The California Teachers Association spent $11.5 million to pass Propositions 24 and 25 and defeat Propositions 22, 23 and 26, but the large teachers' union was only 60 percent successful. Proposition 24, which would have repealed some business tax breaks granted by the Legislature last year, was rejected, but Proposition 25, reducing the legislative on the budget from two-thirds to a simple majority, passed.
Proposition 22, which would protect local government funds from raids by the state, also passed, as did Proposition 26, which imposes a two-thirds vote on some state and local government fees. Proposition 23, which would have suspended the state's global warming law, was rejected.
After the Mungers, the biggest individual contributors to ballot measure campaigns were San Francisco money manager and philanthropist Thomas Steyer and his wife, Kathryn Taylor, who gave $6.1 to defeat Propositions 23 and 26 and batted .500.
Valero Services, a Texas-based oil company and major sponsor of Proposition 23, came in fourth at $5 million, but struck out. And No. 5 was the California Chamber of Commerce, which ponied up $4.1 million. It opposed Proposition 19, a marijuana legalization measure rejected by voters, and Propositions 24, 25 and 27, while supporting Propositions 20 and 26. Its record was five wins and one loss.
The full MAPlight.org report on ballot measure financing can be found here.