The American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO and the International Association of Fire Fighters - FIREPAC have given a combined $600,000 to defeat a California measure that would ban payroll-deducted money from use on political spending, according to the latest campaign filings with the state.
Meanwhile, Stanford physicist Charles T. Munger Jr. (left) donated more than $237,000 to the group promoting the measure on the November ballot.
Munger is a major GOP donor who backed California's redistricting reforms and is prodding the state Republican Party to the moderate middle by downplaying issues such as abortion, gun rights and same-sex marriage. He also gave $119,469 last year to a group that is now aligned with conservative interests backing the initiative. Supporters have given about $3.3 million to the campaign so far.
The organized labor opponents of the measure have raised more than $7 million so far.
The initiative would ban both unions and corporations from contributing directly to candidates, although both could still fund independent expenditure campaigns.
But should it pass, the measure would be a bigger blow to labor interests because it eliminates their primary method of raising political spending money -- payroll deductions. Corporations raise the bulk of their cash for those purposes from top executives and corporate funds.
PHOTO: Charles Munger Jr. of Santa Clara listens to debate during the California Republican Party convention held at the Hyatt in San Francisco in February 2008. / Sacramento Bee file, Brian Baer