Money and Politics

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Twice a year, the State of California requires State, County, and City politicians, and aspiring politicians, to file their semi-annual campaign finance reports, with the due dates being July 31 for January through June and Jan. 31 for the last half of the year.

Then politicos spend hours and hours combing through these reports to find out who’s contributed to whom, how much each candidate received, and how much they’ve spent.

The Press Releases then come out fast and furious to spin, spin and then spin some more.

For our 74th Assembly Race, which I’ve already been writing about ad nauseam, sitting Assemblyman Allan Mansoor has raised $126,123 ($84,974 after July 1) specifically for the 2012 election, spending $49,157.29, leaving $56,686.81 in the bank as of Dec. 31.  Not too shabby.

Mansoor’s main competition, sitting Newport Beach Councilmember Leslie Daigle, started raising money in July pulling in a whopping $140,083.11, spending only $20,380.02 and leaving $119,703.09 in her bank account also as of Dec. 31.  Wow, right?

Daigle has always been able to raise big dollars for her City Council races so there was no doubt that she was going to raise big dollars for Assembly, while one of Mansoor’s biggest liabilities has always been his lack of fundraising prowess.  But ending 2011 with more than double of Mansoor’s cash-on-hand, Daigle has made this race especially interesting as we race towards the summer Primary Elections.

Now…scanning through the people that contributed to Daigle’s Assembly race, a major question comes to mind.  Does any of her City Council duties now become somewhat tainted by large (larger than Newport Beach’s $1,000 City Council contribution limit) Assembly contributions by Newport Beach businesses and residents?

For instance, the Irvine Company donated the maximum amount ($3,900) to Daigle’s Assembly race.  If she makes it past the Primary Election in June (which she absolutely) will, the Irvine Company will be able to contribute ANOTHER $3,900 to Leslie.

If the Irvine Company brings any of their projects in front of the Newport Beach City Council, how is Leslie allowed to proceed?  Well…legally, she would theoretically be allowed to vote to her heart’s content, but the better question is how SHOULD Leslie be allowed to proceed?

COULD her City Council decisions be influenced by another potential $3,900 contribution, as well as the tens of thousands of potential contributions as a result of an Irvine Company endorsement?

What about lobbyist Carol McDermott’s Government Solutions, which contributed $1,314?   It is probably very safe to say that Carol gets in front of Daigle and the City Council numerous times a month to lobby on behalf of her clients.

Will Leslie be influenced by potentially another $2,586 for the Primary Election and $3,900 for the General Election from McDermott?

What about Ware Disposal?  Judy Ware contributed $750 to Leslie’s campaign, but Christy Ware, with her occupation listed as a Clerk at Ware Disposal, contributed $3900 on July 29, 2011, and another $3,900 on Dec. 30 … apparently very confident that Daigle will be in both the Primary AND the General Election.

If trash services bidding come up in front of the Newport Beach City Council again, will/can Daigle be influenced by the $8,550.00 coming from Ware Disposal, with another $7,050 in potential contributions to be had?

Part of the charm of Daigle’s contribution report is that most of her contributors are Newport Beach based, with some Costa Mesa based and Irvine based donors sprinkled throughout the report, while almost half of Mansoor’s monetary support comes from Corporate Political Action Committees (including $7,800 from Phillip Morris USA…).  But that’s not surprising considering Mansoor’s two years in Sacramento.

However, that same Assembly related charm potentially taints her as a Newport Beach Councilwoman because many of these Newport Beach people and businesses, who can potentially donate $7800 to Daigle (if they haven’t already) might end up in front of her on the City Council to get something built/approved/denied.

Other than those questions, comparing Mansoor’s and Daigle’s campaign reports made for an entertaining afternoon.

Crevier BMW donated to Mansoor while Sterling BMW contributed to Daigle; while one contributor, who lives in Costa Mesa but owns property in Newport Beach, donated to both, to cover his bases I suppose.

Cox Communications donated to Daigle while DirecTV donated to Mansoor, so apparently TV providers are choosing sides, while a longtime Daigle City Council supporter and contributor donated towards Mansoor’s Assembly campaign in 2011…twice.

Anyways, if you want to take a gander at all the contributors for Daigle, go the Secretary of State’s website, and if you want to see Mansoor’s, go here to see/spin/excuse for yourself.

I’m already exhausted from the spin going on in my head.

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