The fight to alter California's legislative term limits has been lopsided in fundraising, records show.
Proponents have raised about $2.5 million since the signature-gathering drive began in 2009, while opponents have reported only one contribution, $45,000, from the founder of U.S. Term Limits, Howard Rich, of Philadelphia.
Labor unions and key developers have helped bankroll Proposition 28 , including groups owned by Philip Anschutz and Ed Roski that are pushing rival plans to construct a National Football League football stadium in Southern California.
Jon Fleischman, spokesman for the No on 28 campaign, said the big money raised by proponents could backfire in balloting.
"If you look at the people that are funding the effort to pass Proposition 28, it's all the special interests who want to curry favor with the political class," Fleischman said.
"What we have on our side are the people who believe that you should have to go back and serve under the laws you've created," Fleischman said.
Gabriel Sanchez, spokesman for Yes on 28, said the campaign has a "broad and diverse base of support," with California Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of California participating in its steering committee.
Sanchez said there is "absolutely no connection" between donors and Capitol legislation. He called such claims "laughable," adding that supporters simply believe that altering term limits is "smart reform for our state."
Proposition 28 would reduce the total time that lawmakers could serve in the Legislature from 14 to 12 years, but it would allow all to be served in one house. The current limit is eight years in the Senate and six in the Assembly.
The constitutional amendment would not affect current officeholders, who have not been major donors for or against the proposal. Voters will decide the issue in the June statewide election.
The top contributor to the Proposition 28 campaign has been the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which has chipped in about $1 million in donations and loans.
Roski's Majestic Realty donated $300,000 to the term limits proposal in December 2009, several months after the Legislature passed a bill that shot down a citizens lawsuit by providing environmental exemptions for his planned NFL stadium in the City of Industry. The firm added $100,000 in April 2010, bringing its total contribution to $400,000.
Another key contributor to the Proposition 28 campaign is LA Live Properties, part of Philip Anschutz's entertainment conglomerate, which successfully lobbied lawmakers last year to pass legislation ensuring expedited environmental review of its plan to construct an NFL stadium in Los Angeles. LA Live donated $100,000 to the ballot measure in March.
Other major contributors include A. Jerold Perenchio, former chairman of the Spanish-speaking television network, Univision, $100,000; Pacific, Gas & Electric Co., $100,000; LA Jobs PAC, $80,000; developer Eli Broad, $50,000; and the United Nurses Associations, $50,000.
* Updated at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to reflect that the issue will be decided in the June election.