Politics & Government

The Buzz: Political ethics watchdog announces his departure at end of year

One of the Capitol’s most active political ethics and campaign-finance watchdogs is leaving his post.

Phillip Ung, the policy advocate at California Common Cause, will become the director of public affairs at California Forward beginning Jan. 1. California Forward is a nonpartisan group that seeks changes to state government’s structure.

Ung’s time at Common Cause coincided with major campaign finance and political ethics issues in California. The group was among the leading critics of nonprofit organizations’ involvement in the political process.

Last year, the group spotted an $11 million contribution from a shadowy nonprofit opposing Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-increase initiative, Proposition 30, and supporting a measure, Proposition 32, that sought to weaken the power of labor unions.

Ung said he was proud of his role in exposing “a lot of the inside ‘dirty politics’ in Sacramento,” from trips sponsored by special interests to the influence they exert through gifts to lawmakers.

“There is still a lot of work to be done as it relates to California ethics,” Ung said Monday.

– Christopher Cadelago


Former state lawmaker Tony Strickland has taken a step toward running to replace fellow Republican Buck McKeon in the 25th Congressional District. McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, has not announced his plans but Strickland filed papers Friday. The move followed Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell’s announcement that he will run against Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley, who defeated Strickland last year in the neighboring 26th Congressional District. The 25th includes the Santa Clarita Valley and part of Los Angeles County’s high desert.

– Christopher Cadelago


“California Republicans always tend to be independent cusses. I think it’s a DNA thing.”

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, offering his take in the Los Angeles Times about why the state’s GOP delegation in Washington has split on immigration and other issues.