Take a number: $595,425
California’s Fair Political Practices Comission levied almost $900,000 in fines in 2016, up by about $200,000 from the year before. Compare that with the Federal Election Commission, which imposed $595,425 in fines in 2016, even though federal campaign spending is roughly 10 times what gets spent on California state campaigns.
The Center for Responsive Politics reports that federal candidates and independent campaigns spent at least $6.9 billion in 2016. California campaigns cost $680 million in 2016, as totaled by The Sacramento Bee’s Jim Miller.
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Perhaps federal candidates, donors and consultants to independent campaigns are better at complying with federal rules than are state candidates. We doubt it. More likely, there’s a different attitude about enforcement. – Foon Rhee, @foonrhee
The truth and inclusion behind the Oscar buzz: The real Oscar night story was the way the evening kept circling back to essential questions about truth and inclusion. In ways that went far beyond studio A-lists, that’s what concerned us: whose perspectives, whose truths and voices, would be in, and whose would be out.
Ann Ravel doesn’t go quietly, which is good: No one can accuse Ann Ravel of fading quietly from her job as one of six members of the Federal Election Commission. Both at the FEC and the California Fair Political Practices Commission, Ravel embraced the concept that campaign finance law is intended to help show voters the impact of money on democracy.
Foon Rhee: The press is not the opposition party. The media is not the enemy of the American people. Negative stories are not fake news. And when Trump keeps making these claims, he isn’t just attacking the press, he is chipping away at one of the pillars of our democracy.
Dan Walters: Facing an unprecedented series of storms, the state and federal managers of California’s complex water control system have performed well, averting what could have been a major disaster.
Karin Klein: Five boys from a California high school were implicated in an incident in which a watermelon was thrown at the house of a black classmate. Many in Laguna Beach were shocked and enraged, especially when the perpetrators were suspended for a week instead of thrown off their interscholastic teams.
Gregory Favre: How have we reached a point in history when an administration wants to orchestrate the process so that journalists it doesn’t like won’t be allowed to engage in healthy dialogue? Let’s examine the work of some of the people who would qualify for President Donald Trump’s Nixon-like list.
San Francisco Chronicle: Patients should know why their doctor is on probation. A new review of the California Medical Board and the hundreds of doctors it has put on probation gives board members and legislators another chance to register a pulse. The gravity of the medical malfeasance in question underscores the need to ensure that the state’s patients are thoroughly informed of it.
San Diego Union Tribune: Darrell Issa was right the first time. A special prosecutor is needed. Something without known precedent happened in the 2016 presidential campaign: The FBI and CIA concluded that Russia sought to intervene, in part to help Donald Trump, by leaking thousands of emails, some quite damaging, from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party.
Mercury News: In Oroville and San Jose, first things first. But answers to what went wrong and how to prevent real disaster — a deadly flood – are critical. This time, no lives were lost. But the danger was real, the calls too close for comfort.
Seattle Times: The American people have moved beyond prohibition because it was a destructive, ineffective policy. President Donald Trump should read the will of the people and let the states continue to be the laboratories of democracy.
Raleigh News & Observer: In North Carolina, conservative Republicans sure showed President Obama they wanted no part of his “government giveaway” to poor people. Let’s hope they richly enjoyed their defiance because – thanks to possible Republican changes – North Carolina may soon pay heavily for being obstinate.
Kansas City Star: At some point, embarrassingly late begins to verge on something more disquieting. President Donald Trump has silently planted himself in that space. Nearly a week has passed since two India-born engineers were singled out and shot at an Olathe bar, presumably because they were immigrants, darker in skin tone and possibly viewed by the shooter as unwanted foreigners.
Michael Gerson: Two comments point the U.S. in different directions. The United States was summoned into existence by the clear bell of unifying aspirations, not by the primal scream of blood and soil.
Trudy Rubin: Some have expressed hope that the more mainstream views of Defense Secretary James Mattis and new national security adviser H.R. McMaster could compensate for the president’s insistence on foreign policy-making by tweet. Yet even as Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traversed the globe trying to reassure rattled allies, Trump contradicted them at every stop with his tweets.
Eugene Robinson: You might think the president would be fully engaged in some of the country’s most important issues, but you’d be wrong. Instead, he has been waging a ridiculous war against the media.
Paul Krugman: Outrage at what’s happening to America isn’t just justified, it’s essential. In fact, it may be our last chance of saving democracy.
The action by President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos against protection for transgender children is an offense against humanity. – Tom Funk, Elk Grove
Taking their lumps
Credit Senate Democrats with understanding the First Rule of Holes.
Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, dug the hole last Thursday when he was presiding, and Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove, who was a Vietnam refugee, rose to denounce the late Sen. Tom Hayden, the anti-Vietnam War agitator. Noting she was speaking out of order and unable to silence her, Lara told sergeants at arms to escort her off the Senate floor. They complied, and Nguyen became a cause célèbre at the GOP’s state convention over the weekend.
On Monday, some Republican staffers showed up for the Senate floor session wearing stickers saying they stand with Nguyen. Republican senators stood to once more denounce debacle of last Thursday. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León took “full responsibility,” announcing there will be a full investigation by the Senate Rules Committee. Lara was traveling and not at the Senate. Nguyen seems satisfied: “What happened today on the floor reaffirms my deep beliefs in the democratic process and freedom of speech.”
Democrats had stopped digging, for the time being.