Nearly half of the money Assemblyman Matt Haney raised between January and June this year came from a group dedicated to reducing the role of unions in state politics, according to the records of countryside.
CalMatters exposed the somewhat dodgy way this organizationthrough a network of supposedly independent local chapters, donates tens of thousands of dollars to candidates for state legislature.
The group describes itself as a “force multiplier” to extend its influence against “special interests”, but the special interest the group opposes the most is organized work. The founder, David Crane, was an adviser to former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Ron Conway, the SF plutocrat, is also among the founders.
Haney, records show, raised $285,000 in direct contributions. Independent spending groups have poured in nearly $1 million in additional money.
Govern For California affiliates gave Haney $122,500, in increments of $9,600 ($4,800 for the primary and an additional $4,800 for the general election). It’s legal, but some say it’s dodgy. From CalMatters:
Some pundits have also questioned whether it was a way for his small group of wealthy donors to escape contribution caps designed to prevent anyone from having outsized influence on state policy.
“Besides getting around contribution limits, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to go the extra mile,” said Stan Oklobdzija, a visiting professor of public policy at UC Riverside who studies campaign finance. He said he hadn’t seen anything like the Govern For California strategy in the state.
And while Govern For California chapters received contributions from nearly 250 donors this election, state campaign finance records show nearly two-thirds of all money raised came from just 20 people — donors who can, and often do, make separate maximum allowable contributions to the same candidates that chapters support.
Haney touted his support of workers (mainly building trades) in his election campaign, and some unions gave him money. But he got even more from this anti-worker organization.
In fact, according to CalMatters, Haney was the biggest recipient of GFC money this election cycle.
Haney, like all candidates and politicians, has always insisted that his campaign contributions have no bearing on his political positions. But a large, sophisticated group of anti-union donors clearly thought he was the most reliable candidate for the job.
That’s how the system works.