Here’s a list of the biggest spenders in California politics for the past decade:
These 15 groups spent more than a combined $1 billion over the past 10 years to influence public policy:
— California Teachers Association: $211.8 million
— California State Council of Service Employees: $107.4 million
— Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $104.9 million
— Morongo Band of Mission Indians: $83.6 million
— Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians: $69.2 million
— Pacific Gas & Electric Co.: $69.2 million
— Chevron Corp.: $66.2 million
— AT&T Inc.: $59.6 million
— Philip Morris USA Inc.: $50.7 million
— Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians: $49 million
— Southern California Edison: $43.4 million
— California Hospital Association: $43 million
— California Chamber of Commerce: $39 million
— Western States Petroleum Association: $35.2 million
— Aera Energy LLC: $34.6 million
Source: California Fair Political Practices Commission
What’s striking is that the Teachers’ Union outspent the next biggest spender by almost two to one — and the next biggest spender is also a union. The Chron, incidentally, tried to make it sound as if the union spending, while at the top, was indistinguishable from the trailing corporate spending:
While the powerful teachers union topped the spending list and the California State Council of Service Employees – which lobbies on behalf of public employees represented by SEIU labor chapters – came in second, at $107 million, business wasn’t far behind. Six corporations funneled nearly $324 million into the political process, including $69.2 million spent by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., $66.2 million by Chevron Corp. and $59.6 million by AT&T Inc.
In fact, on a per corporation basis, corporations were far behind unions, and, collectively, they lagged behind casinos too. Here are the numbers: Two unions spent $319.2 million to affect the political process. Three Indian gambling groups spent $201.8 million to affect the political process. Three government regulated utilities spent $172.2 million to affect the political process. And where do the remaining corporate entities come in? At $373.6 million, which sounds like a lot until you realize its divided between seven corporations, for an average of $53 million per entity over ten years — versus the unions’ average of $159 million per entity over ten years. So just who is really affecting the political process?
By the way, do you want to know one of the ways in which the Teachers’ Union spent that money?
For example, the California Teachers Association, which represents 330,000 public school teachers in the state, spent $26 million to defeat a school voucher system in 2000 and another $50 million to kill three other ballot measures.
It makes more laughable than ever the Democrats’ hysterical attack on the Supreme Court for making the way clearer for corporate voices to speak. The fact is, corporations are infinitely more representative of America’s varied voices than are the huge blocks of unions, all of which are aimed at consolidating vast amounts of political power under “progressive” control.