Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 19, 2012
FPPC focusing on getting violations fixed before Election Day

The Fair Political Practices Commission is relying on more than the threat of fines after ballots are in to enforce California campaign laws well before the Nov. 6 election.

Officials at the state political watchdog agency have been sending cease-and-desist letters to campaigns violating the Political Reform Act, advising them that they could face fines or other penalties if they don't change their actions.

"You can pay a fine after Election Day, but the damages are already done," Enforcement Division Chief Gary Winuk said. "This way, the public has the information before they decide -- the election is fair."

It's worked four times so far.

The latest case involved contributions that a committee controlled by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed gave to an independent expenditure committee supporting Rose Herrera, who's running for San Jose City Council. Such a transaction isn't allowed under campaign finance laws.

The cash had already been spent, so it was too late for the independent committee to return the contribution. But the committee's lawyer detailed in a letter to the FPPC the efforts his clients made to keep the mailers funded by the illegal donations out of voters' homes. That included sending a representative to stop the presses at the political mail printer.

"The Committee representative was successful in stopping the distribution of two of the pieces," the letter reads, "though one piece had already been sent to the post office this afternoon."

October 19, 2012
Group calls for FPPC investigation of mystery Arizona money

121019 cressman.JPGAs details emerge about an out-of-state group that dumped $11 million into California politics this week, a good-government organization this morning called for an investigation into who is behind the money.

California Common Cause has asked the state's political watchdog commission to examine Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership and its contribution to an independent committee backing a controversial campaign finance measure on the Nov. 6 ballot, Proposition 32, and opposing Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposal, Proposition 30.

"You know, $11 million doesn't just drop out of the sky," said Derek Cressman, Western regional director for Common Cause.

October 19, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Cash flows in California, on Sacramento airwaves

VIDEO: Dan says there's lots of campaign cash flowing in California, despite the lack of a competitive race at the top of the ticket.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

October 19, 2012
AM Alert: Jerry Brown, Molly Munger give tax initiatives the hard sell

VIDEO: Dan Walters says there's one segment of Sacramento's economy that's doing well. Think campaign ads.

Gov. Jerry Brown takes his tax-initiative campaign to Burbank, where he's scheduled at speak at 12:45 p.m. today at the annual business forecast conference of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, which backs his Proposition 30.

Brown continues his push this weekend as California Teachers Association members and others knock on doors and make calls in 25 cities statewide urging voters to back the measure. The governor will speak in San Francisco on Saturday, joining the union's vice president, Eric Heins, and Bay Area teachers at an 11 a.m. news conference at the SEIU Local 1021 office at 350 Rhode Island St.

Meanwhile, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is walking precincts in Santa Rosa on Saturday morning and holding a news conference Sunday morning in San Jose. Heins will join Sacramento teachers Sunday at another presser. That one starts at 11 a.m. at the CTA's Natomas office, 4100 Truxel Road.

Lawyer-activist Molly Munger will hit the campaign trail herself this weekend, with an appearance in Sacramento at the third annual United Latinos Voter Education Forum talking up her rival tax initiative, Proposition 38.

Other listed speakers at the forum include former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, who'll be making a case for the state budget-related Proposition 31. That event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Sacramento State in the University Union's Redwood Room. Click here for more information.

CAPITOL STEPS: Firefighters mark the 10th anniversary of the California Firefighters Memorial in Capitol Park with a vigil starting at 6 p.m. tonight on the north steps. The annual memorial ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, and 40 names will be added to the memorial wall. Firefighters will gather at 10 a.m. and walk to the memorial for the ceremony. Click here to read the program.

POLITICAL COLLECTIBLES: Campaign posters, political posters and other memorabilia abound at a collectors' gathering Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sierra 2 Center, 2791 24th St., Sacramento. Admission is $3, with kids and students with ID getting in for free.

PROP. 8: West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon portrays Judge Vaughn Walker in a reading of Dustin Lance Black's Prop. 8 play, "8," on Saturday night at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento. The reading starts, appropriately enough, at 8 p.m. Tickets run from $18 to $80, and proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, celebrates his 38th birthday today, and Attorney General Kamala Harris turns 48 on Sunday. Natal wishes to both.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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