Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 23, 2013
Source: Settlement in $11 million Arizona donation case

RCB_20130917 FPPC CHAIR 0921_0121 (2).JPGThe state's political ethics watchdog has reached a settlement following its probe into an $11 million donation that added last-minute drama to Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase initiative, a source close to the case told The Bee.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission is expected to announce the settlement at a news conference Thursday in Sacramento. Details of the settlement were not immediately available.

After the $11 million went to oppose Brown's Proposition 30 tax increase and support Proposition 32, a measure aimed at weakening the political power of labor unions, the FPPC sued to force more detailed disclosure. It eventually discovered that the money flowed to California through three nonprofits: Americans for Job Security, the Center to Protect Patients' Rights and Americans for Responsible Leadership.

The true source of the donations has remained a mystery.

Both the Center to Protect Patient Rights and Americans for Job Security have funded campaigns against Democratic congressional candidates and President Barack Obama without disclosing their donors. The FPPC has accused the nonprofits of money laundering to hide donors from California voters in violation of state law.

The Center to Protect Patient Rights and its director, Sean Noble, have been connected to billionaire conservative activists David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch in the past, but spokespeople for the Kochs have denied any involvement 1n the Proposition 30 and 32 campaigns.

PHOTO: FPPC Chair Ann Ravel gestures during an interview in her office on Tuesday September 17, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/ Renee C. Byer

October 23, 2013
Tom Calderon drops bid for California Senate


Former Assemblyman Tom Calderon has dropped out of the race to replace his brother Ron Calderon in the state Senate next year.

"I'm not running," Tom Calderon said today in a phone call with The Bee.

"I just need to take time for myself and my family. I've been through a lot this year."

In June, the FBI raided the Capitol offices of Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, and attempted to contact Tom Calderon, who works as a consultant. Federal authorities appear to be looking into businesses that have ties to Tom Calderon. This year they subpoenaed the Central Basin Municipal Water District and raided the Pacific Hospital of Long Beach -- both businesses that have been clients of Tom Calderon's consulting practice. Ron Calderon, meanwhile, has opened a legal defense fundraising committee to cover expenses related to his "public corruption investigation."

Tom Calderon said today that he has not testified before a grand jury in the case and has had no contact with federal authorities in recent weeks.

October 23, 2013
AM Alert: Speaker John A. Perez steps into national spotlight

20130805_ha__JohnAPerez0002.JPGWith his Sacramento duties discharged for the year's remainder, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez will be availing himself of an opportunity to commune with his legislative leader counterparts.

Accustomed to presiding over the California Assembly, Pérez will spend the next few days hosting a National Speakers Conference in Los Angeles. Run by the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, the four-day event today through Saturday brings together speakers and chiefs of staff from democracy labs around the country. It seems appropriate that Pérez takes on the emcee's role as his final year in the Legislature looms; he has already served a one-year term as the conference's president.

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation, by the way, draws funding from an A-list of corporate backers that includes the American Beverage Association, McDonald's, Wal-Mart, Verizon and GlaxoSmithCline. Its board of directors features state lawmakers from around the country, including California's own Assembly Majority Floor Leader Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

VIDEO: A big upcoming California bond sale offers a test of how the state's finances are perceived, Dan Walters says.

REEXAMINING REALIGNMENT: During Monday's meeting of a newly launched committee on criminal justice policy, lawmakers peppered witnesses with questions about the quantifiable effects of shifting offenders to county jails over the last few years. Today, a Sacramento Press Club event will ask air similar questions. With Lenore Anderson of Californians for Safety and Justice, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, Nina Salarno Ashford of Crime Victims United and Michelle Scray Brown, chief probation officer of San Bernardino County. From noon at Capitol Plaza Ballroom.

MEDI-CALIBRATING: An Assembly Health Committee hearing today will take a look at Medi-Cal's managed care program. Witnesses include public health academics, attorneys for organizations that work on disabled advocacy and independent care and experts who will speak on shifting Californians enrolled in Healthy Families into Medi-Cal. From 9:30 a.m. to noon in room 4202.

DRONES: The growing use of unmanned aircraft continues to hover on the radar of policymakers, and a panel today in San Francisco will take a look at the implications for law enforcement and civil liberties. Joining Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and David A. Carrillo, director of UC Berkeley law school's California Constitution Center, will be Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, who sponsored an unsuccessful bill last session that would have delineated how law enforcement could use data collected by drones. Starting at 6 p.m. at the Commonwealth Club.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, who turns 63 today.

PHOTO: Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.

October 23, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Bond sale tests California's finances

Financial markets are closely watching California's ability to pay off bonds given an increasing dependency on wealthy Californians for revenue, Dan says.

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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