Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

August 1, 2013
Capitol lobbyists make more this year; oil group tops in spending

20130530_HA_LOBBYIST0097.JPGIncome for lobbying firms at California's Capitol was up slightly for the first half of this year compared with the same time period last year.

Lobbying firms brought in a total of $86.3 million between January and June, up about 1 percent from the year before, according to quarterly financial disclosure reports filed with the California Secretary of State.

KP Public Affairs and Lang Hansen O'Malley Miller were neck and neck for the top two spots, with KP bringing in $2.931 million and Lang Hansen bringing in $2.928 million. KP benefited from contracts with Citigroup, Lockheed Martin, Google, the City of Los Angeles and the Western States Petroleum Association. Lang Hansen's top-billing clients for the second quarter of the year were the American Chemistry Council, the Altria cigarette company and the Hollywood Park Racing Association.

Interest groups that lobby California state government, meanwhile, have spent a total of $137.4 million on their efforts so far this year. As in years past, the Western States Petroleum Association spent the most on lobbying. Labor unions, health care companies and the California Chamber of Commerce also spent big to influence state government.

Here's a look at the 20 lobbying firms that brought in the most money between January and June of this year. Roll over the blue bars for more detail.

And below we list the 20 interest groups that spent the most money on lobbying in California during the first half of 2013. Roll over the orange bars for more detail.

PHOTO: Sacramento lobbyists Terry McHale and Carl London walk away from the Senate member entrance on Thursday, May 30, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

August 1, 2013
California pension funds took in $33.8B, paid out $28.2B last year

ACW CALPERS BLD.JPGCalifornia's state-managed public employee pension funds took in $33.8 billion from employer and employee contributions in 2012 and paid out $28.2 billion in benefits to 874,734 retirees, according to a new Census Bureau report.

There are five state-managed pension funds but the two biggest, the California Public Employees Retirement System and the State Teachers Retirement System, account for all but a fraction of their overall economic activity.

Collectively, the five held $430.2 billion in assets of various kinds - corporate stocks being the largest single bloc at $177 billion -- in 2012 but had $592.2 billion in calculated obligations for 1.9 million public employee members of the systems, the report said.

Investment earnings in 2012 were just under $14 billion, while employees contributed $6.2 billion and state and local governments kicked in another $13.7 billion.

August 1, 2013
Abel Maldonado in debt while Jerry Brown tops $10 M in gov's race

maldonadopresser.jpgAbel Maldonado, who is preparing to challenge Gov. Jerry Brown in next year's gubernatorial race, finished the first half of the year about $3,348 in debt, while the Democratic governor further padded his multi-million fundraising advantage, according to financial statements filed Wednesday.

In a statement filed after 9 p.m. on the reporting deadline, Maldonado reported raising $314,222 and spending $317,570 in the first six months of the year. The Republican former lieutenant governor had $44,595 in cash on hand, with outstanding debts of $47,943.

Between mid-April and June, Maldonado spent more than $185,000 on campaign consultants and another $48,000 on office expenses. His non-monetary contributions included $18,147 from himself for the campaign's use of his personal plane.

Brown raised $2.8 million and spent far less than Maldonado in the first half of the year, posting $31,526 in expenditures and an ending cash balance of more than $10 million.

Brown has not yet said if he will seek re-election, but he is widely expected to run. In heavily Democratic California, even Republicans believe the third-term governor will be extraordinarily difficult to defeat.

Brown's donors include labor unions, Indian gambling interests, oil companies and other businesses. He appears to appeal to the entertainment industry, as well, receiving $27,200 donations each from Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen and Kate Capshaw on a single day in June.

Big-name contributors to Maldonado include Stephen Bechtel Jr., GOP activist Charles Munger Jr., former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and Mike Curb, who sparred with Brown decades ago, when Curb was lieutenant governor and Brown was governor before.

Another Republican who is considering a gubernatorial run, Twin Peaks Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, reported raising $83,148 in the first half of the year.

PHOTO: Abel Maldonado speaks to reporters in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

August 1, 2013
California candidates file campaign disclosures for first half of 2013

Wednesday marked the semi-annual filing deadline for campaign finances, giving the public one of its first glimpses of how 2014 campaigns for statewide office are shaping up. Every committee received more than $1,000 in contributions had to disclose the amount they raised and spent in the first six months of 2013 to the secretary of state.

We compiled a spreadsheet with the reported data for every person seeking statewide office, including the amount each candidate raised during the first six months of the year and the amount of cash on hand as of June 30. Gov. Jerry Brown so far has the biggest war chest, with his total cash on hand topping out at $10,042,186.23.

Campaign Finance Disclosures August 2013

August 1, 2013
AM Alert: Geography is destiny? Sacramento doesn't think so

tr_20130116_river_morning_107B.JPGAs promised, today we get a full accounting of cash coming into California's campaign coffers through the first half of 2013 -- we'll have a summary up on Capitol Alert shortly.

(Here's a little tidbit to satiate you in the meantime: Gov. Jerry Brown has pulled $2.8 million into his re-election campaign, giving the aspiring two-termer a little over $10 million on hand.)

But since the topic of money leads often to the topic of political corruption, we want to talk about a little study that caused a big uproar Tuesday. NPR spotlighted research linking political malfeasance to the location of state capitals, with the upshot being that more remote statehouses are more prone to sordid business -- and California was noted as one such place.

"We're talking about isolated state capitals like California, which is a populous state, but the capital, Sacramento, is far away from anything," Morning Edition host David Greene noted.

That didn't sit well with the Capitol community. Twitter blew up with people pointing out Sacramento's proximity to the Bay Area, with plenty of them faulting NPR for a Beltway-centric sense of geography. Say what you will about Sacramento, its residents don't like being told they live on the periphery.

VIDEO: Lax oversight has allowed drug rehab centers to rip off taxpayers -- making Dan Walters wonder when the Legislature will start grilling some bad actors.

August 1, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Legislature needs to put people under oath

Dan wonders when the Legislature will start taking on more substantive issues now that a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting and CNN has found that drug rehabilitation clinics bilked the state of California out of millions of dollars.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.


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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