Contributions top $100 million in ballot measure fights
Fundraising in the fight over a November ballot measure that would curb organized labor's political influence has topped $100 million.
Business interests are now outpacing unions in political donations, with the most recent infusion coming from Republican rainmaker Charles Munger Jr., who gave more than $13 million to a committee dedicated to passing the measure, Proposition 32, and opposing Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30. According to state records, $10 million of that is a loan.
In all, Munger has given roughly $35 million to the group, dubbed the Small Business Action Committee. The group has raised more than $42 million.
Proposition 32 would make major changes to California's campaign finance system, including banning the practice of political contribution by payroll deduction -- the primary method labor unions use to raise political cash. Unions have declared defeating the initiative their top priority this year.
The labor-backed opposition campaign has raised nearly $63 million, state records show.
A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll of registered voters shows Proposition 32 trailing, with 39% supporting and 46% opposing.
“It’s really tough to see how this initiative wins,” said Dave Kanevsky of the Republican polling firm American Viewpoint, which conducted the survey in conjunction with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic firm.
He said proponents had failed to win over their natural GOP allies and match the intensity of labor unions.
“Republicans don’t like this as much as Democrats are against it,” Kanevsky said.
-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento