Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 31, 2012
Judge confirms ruling against mystery donor to ballot campaigns

A Sacramento Superior Court judge confirmed tonight her ruling against an obscure Arizona campaign group, saying the failure to investigate the source of its funds would cause irreparable harm to California voters.

Judge Shelleyanne W.L. Chang's final ruling ordered Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership, which donated $11 million to kill Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase in Proposition 30 and support the campaign finance measure Prop. 32, to turn over information to state regulators on Thursday.

It's still far from certain, however, that voters will learn of the group's donors before Tuesday's election. The group said it will appeal, and it is unclear whether the courts can sort out the issues in expedited fashion or, even if they do, whether the state Fair Political Practices Commission will determine that donor disclosure is warranted..

"We are disappointed in the today's court ruling," Matt Ross, the Sacramento-based spokesman for the group's Virginia legal team, said in a prepared statement. "We have asserted all along that the FPPC does not have the authority to issue an audit in advance of the election. We continue to believe so and will appeal this case."

October 31, 2012
Final decision delayed in $11 million donor disclosure case

A Sacramento Superior Court judge withheld her final ruling this afternoon after listening to attorneys debate whether an out-of-state group must subject itself to an audit of its donors.

Judge Shelleyanne W.L. Chang could issue her decision later today.

Attorneys for the state's campaign watchdog agency and Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership debated whether the state could immediately audit the obscure group.

October 31, 2012
Gavin Newsom criticizes Jerry Brown in KGO Radio interview

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom two weeks ago criticized Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative approach, suggesting to KGO Radio in San Francisco that the governor was slow to hit the campaign trail and that he was telling college students "something that's not true."

Newsom spoke to KGO on Oct. 17, a day after Brown appeared at UCLA in the first of several appearances at state colleges and universities. But the interview got little statewide notice until Bee columnist Dan Morain referenced Newsom's caustic words for Brown in today's Bee. Though both Democrats who support Proposition 30, Newsom and Brown have endured a difficult relationship.

Newsom, who sits on the University of California Board of Regents and the California State University Board of Trustees, emphasized several times in a four-minute interview that Brown was misleading college students by suggesting Prop. 30 would avert tuition increases. That has since become a central part of Brown's campaign message.

"My big concern is, we went down yesterday and said there will be no tuition increase if you support this," Newsom said. "That's just not true. You can't say things like this."

October 31, 2012
Groups spend more than $20 million on CA legislative races

Independent groups have spent more than $20 million on state legislative contests ahead of Tuesday's election.

The heaviest spending has occurred in two Sacramento-area seats so far. Independent expenditure committees reported spending nearly $2.7 million through Oct. 30 on the 5th Senate District battle between Republican Assemblyman Bill Berryhill and Democratic Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani. The Stockton-based seat is one of three swing districts that could determine whether Senate Democrats win a two-thirds majority in the upper house.

The 8th Assembly District is home to the second most expensive race, with outside groups dropping more than $2.5 million. Democrat Ken Cooley and Republican Peter Tateishi are fighting for that suburban Sacramento seat.

Spending by independent expenditure committees is certain to increase in the last week of the campaign, as the groups make their final appeals to voters. The committees can raise and spend unlimited amounts on state elections, provided they do not coordinate with candidate campaigns.

October 31, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Why is Jerry Brown campaigning at colleges?

Dan says Gov. Jerry Brown may be spending too much time on campus as he campaigns for Proposition 30.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

October 31, 2012
AM Alert: Jerry Brown, Jon Coupal fire salvos in Prop. 30 war

VIDEO: Dan Walters wonders why Gov. Jerry Brown is spending so much time on college campuses instead of trying to woo middle-age voters.

With six days to go before Election Day, Gov. Jerry Brown is in Los Angeles today, delivering what's being billed as a major luncheon address on his tax measure, Proposition 30. The Town Hall Los Angeles event starts at 12:30 p.m. at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Registration is closed, but you can learn more at this link.

Meanwhile, Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and John Kabateck, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business of California, hold a No on Proposition 30 presser at 2 p.m. in San Diego at Tuna Harbor Park.

Stay tuned for the latest Field Poll to be published Thursday gauging voter's views on both Brown's measure and Molly Munger's Proposition 38.

Back in the capital, a Sacramento Superior Court judge conducts a hearing at 1:30 p.m. in Department 44 on the Fair Political Practices Commission's lawsuit against an Arizona nonprofit over its anonymous $11 million campaign contribution. The judge has tentatively ruled that the FPPC has the authority to audit a nonprofit before an election, The Bee's Kevin Yamamura reported in this post.

The hearing was postponed from Tuesday after the group's lawyers had a hard time getting here from Virginia because of Sandy's grip on the East Coast. If the tentative ruling holds, the state wants the group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, to give the FPPC its donor information by 4 p.m. Thursday so the agency can do an audit before Election Day.

Down in the south state, Daphne Phung of California against Slavery holds a Yes on Proposition 35 presser at 11:30 a.m. in front of San Bernardino City Hall with San Bernardino County Supervisor Josie Gonzales and San Bernardino District Attorney Michael Ramos to urge voters to back the anti-human trafficking measure.

In other campaign news, recording artist MC Hammer will be in Stockton next Monday to back Rep. Jerry McNerney, the Democratic incumbent facing Republican challenger Ricky Gill in the Central Valley's 9th Congressional District. (Hat tip to Josh Richman of the Bay Area News Group.)

That would be the @MCHammer who tweeted last week: "Without Prop. 30, our schools and colleges face an additional $6 billion in devastating cuts this year. #YesonProp30." He also directed several tweets to California university campuses.


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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