The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 13, 2012
CA prison officers spent more than $1 million on political advice

This is the fourth installment in a series of posts detailing the 2011 political spending by California state workers' unions. The records are downloaded from the California Secretary of State's office and reflect activity filed as of Jan. 31, 2012.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association paid a total $1.1 million to four political consultants and a political lawyer last year, according to documents the union filed with the state.

Media strategy firm The Battin Group (formerly Voter Strategies Inc. and run by former Republican lawmaker Jim Battin) topped the list with $342,000 from CCPOA., followed by $220,000 to J. S. Peace & Associates, which is headed by former state lawmaker and "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" producer Steve Peace.

Other CCPOA expenditures in 2011 included $200,000 to former Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata's firm, Perata Consulting LLC, about $200,000 more to attorney Wayne Ordos and $157,000 to McNally Temple Associates Inc., another consulting firm.

The union also gave $100,000 to the California Independent Voter Project, a non-profit organization that offers to pay the expenses of state lawmakers who attend an annual Hawaii conference. Peace is one of the non profit's principals.

CCPOA, like many players in the political arena gave money to both sides of the aisle. Last year it wrote checks totaling $110,000 to the California Democratic Party and $25,000 to the California Republican Party.

By our count, the union controlled or wholly subsidized at least nine PACs, although not all of them took in or paid out money last year. Click here for a list that includes the committees.

We focused on the six most active PACS and subtotaled individual expenditures and contributions of the biggest accounts. Access those figures by clicking the "expend totals" or "contrib totals" at the bottom of some tables.

Expenditures pages show everything the association spent on political action, including operating costs. Contributions pages break out donations to campaigns and political causes.To get a sense of political spending in California by other interest groups, check out Maplight.org. The California data on that site run through December 2010.

Here are the CCPOA numbers:

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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