The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 29, 2012
Campaign money in Prop. 32 fight reaches $124 million

121029 Prop 32.JPGWith just over a week before Election Day, the interests backing Proposition 32 and fighting Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30, have raised $58 million, including a recent six-figure donation from a Texas oil man.

Meanwhile, the union-backed No on 32 side has raised $66 million.

The money highlights the role of special-interest independent expenditures in backing a measure that claims to be a check on special interests.

Separately, contributions to the Yes on 32 campaign committee total a relatively small $4.3 million as of today, according to state records. Most of the money came from individuals, including Stanford physicist Charles Munger Jr. and former Univision chief Jerry Perenchio. A few businesses also chipped in.

Another independent committee supporting Proposition 32, California Future Fund, received $4 million from Iowa PAC with reported ties to the Koch brothers.

But the biggest pro-Proposition 32 bucks have gone to the the Small Business Action Committee's independent No on 30/Yes on 32 effort. Munger has given $35 million to the dual-purpose committee, making him its biggest donor by far. An Arizona PAC, Americans for Responsible Leadership has kicked in another $11 million. The Phoenix-based group hasn't reported the source of its money.

Dallas-based gas and oil executive T. Boone Pickens gave $100,000 last week to the business PAC, according to state records.

The $66 million raised to fight the measure has come from organized labor, including $20 million from the California Teachers Association.

When added with a few other relatively minor PACs, total donations to committees for and against the measure have reached $124 million, although about one-third of the contributed funds could also have gone to fighting Proposition 30.

Unions have made killing Proposition 32 their top priority. The proposal bans money from payroll deductions for political activities, a provision that would handcuff unions' influence by choking off their sole source of funding in California.

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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


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