Capitol Alert

California Democratic Party crushes GOP in campaign fundraising

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento on May 20, 2017.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento on May 20, 2017. AP

If there was ever any doubt about which party controls the Capitol, last week’s campaign finance disclosure presented the latest evidence.

The California Democratic Party outraised the state GOP nearly 3-to-1 during the first six months of 2017, amassing almost $9.6 million compared to the roughly $3.5 million collected by the California Republican Party.

The Democrats reported raising money from more than 350 donors, including major companies, unions, trade groups and others. In some cases, donors gave to both parties, with Democrats usually getting the larger checks.

The double donors include the California Association of Realtors, which contributed $700,000 to the California Democratic Party and $250,000 to the California Republican Party, filings show. In recent months, the organization has played a role in the Capitol debate over affordable housing, supporting a measure by state Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, to impose a $75 fee on real-estate filings, but opposing a bill by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction on second homes.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America donated $160,000 to state Democrats, more than twice what it gave the state GOP. The trade group opposes a high-profile bill by State Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, which requires drug companies to notify direct purchasers at least 90 days before raising the price of medications by certain thresholds and mandates reports from insurers on drug costs.

Other donors gave only one way. Last November, the California Democratic Party decided it will no longer accept political donations from oil companies, explaining why Chevron gave $500,000 to the Republican Party alone.

Come campaign season, meanwhile, parties become more than just fundraising vehicles – they also help move money around to candidates in competitive races.

The shuffling has been a feature of campaigns since voters’ approval of Proposition 34. The ballot measure established contribution limits, but it allows political parties to give much more money to candidates than other types of donors.

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WORTH REPEATING: “National security should trump social experimentation, always.” – Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, supporting President Donald Trump’s plan to ban transgender people from the military.

SUPPORTING VETS: More funds are on their way to Managed Career Solutions, an organization that provides vocational counseling and services for job seekers across California. Their program in Veterans Employment & Training Services has won a grant from the California Employment Development Department, for MCS’s work in increasing local employment opportunities for veterans throughout Los Angeles County.

Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, today will present a $500,000 check to the organization, alongside Cesar Valladares of EDD and Phil Starr, executive director of MCS. The grant money will go toward supporting program participants completing trainings that will lead to an industry-recognized certificate or license in a target high-growth sector. The presentation will begin at 9:30 a.m. at 3300 Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles.

SUPPORTING SCIENCE: In an effort to support “science-based decision making,” research into climate change, and healthy and resilient coastal ecosystems, the California Ocean Protection Council will meet Monday afternoon to consider giving $7 million in grants to the California Sea Grant College Program and the University of Southern California Sea Grant Program.

Both programs would receive up to $3.5 million. The California Sea Grant College Program – administered by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego – would focus on ocean acidification and sustainable fisheries. The University of Southern California program would disburse funding to study coastal sediment management, marine pollution and marine renewable energy.

The meeting will start at 1 p.m. at 1416 Ninth St. in Sacramento.

MUST READ: Remember when the California Citizens Compensation Commission took away lawmakers’ cars? How did that work out? The numbers are in.

SUPPORTING RETIREES: The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board on Monday will discuss authorizing Executive Director Katie Selenski to execute a contract for general consulting services for the program.

Congressional Republicans have in the past worked to eliminate the Obama-era regulations that supported the establishment of the program in California, which is an effort to enroll millions of private-sector workers without retirement plans in a state-run savings account. A study conducted last year by The Pew Charitable Trusts found that just over half of California workers have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. Gov. Jerry Brown in February defended the state’s need of such a program, and despite setbacks in Washington, the program has moved forward.

The meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. at 915 Capitol Mall, Room 587. For members of the public interested in hearing the meeting, it will be broadcast in conference rooms in San Jose, Truckee and Los Angeles.

Rennie Svirnovskiy: 916-321-1199, @RennieYS