Last week, the Center for Responsive Politics released its list of the Top Ten cash contributors to Section 527 political corporations in the 2nd quarter of 2010. Let’s look at the middle of the list:
#5 David Teece, chairman of the recently formed Californians for a Balanced Budget and a Better Economy: $540,000 to Californians for a Balanced Budget and a Better Economy
#6 Pitch Johnson, founder of Asset Management Company: $500,827 to Californians for a Balanced Budget and a Better Economy
Now isn’t that sweet? David Teece and Pitch Johnson want to balance the budget of California and make the economy better. Don’t those sound like good things to want? Together, they were willing to spend over a million unregulated dollars to get what they want.
But is that really what David Teece and Pitch Johnson want? Visit the bare-bones website of Californians for a Balanced Budget and a Better Economy and you’ll get your first hint of the Section 527 corporation’s real aims:
Fri, 05/14/2010 – 07:25
We are launching a 527 organization – Californians for a Balanced Budget and Better Economy – to facilitate the discussion among Californians over how to best fix our government’s financial crisis and restore our economy to prosperity.
One of our first efforts will involve educating the public about former Congressman Tom Campbell’s ideas on moving our nation’s economy forward.
Our committee has assembled a team of seasoned professionals to execute television, radio, and direct mail efforts. I would sincerely appreciate your consideration of our efforts.
David Teece, Ph.D.
Chairman, Californians for a
Balanced Budget and a Better Economy
CBBBE was almost entirely (94.8%) a publicity campaign, with $779,669.00 devoted to television advertisements and $324,654.00 devoted to printing and postage. The group’s two-sided mailing:
And the group’s television advertisement:
(let me know if this video disappears; I’ve downloaded a copy that I can provide as an informational mirror.)
The group proclaims to the IRS that it is an “issues” group, but its products (94.8% of the group’s spending) are whole-hearted Tom Campbell campaign advertisements.
The contributors to CBBBE are a small set of big rollers: just 14 people, not one of whom chipped in less than $10,000.00:
David Teece $540,000.00
Pitch Johnson $500,827.00
Thomas Siebel $150,000.00
Richard Riordan $50,000.00
Bradford Jones $50,000.00
William Cronk $25,000.00
Robert O’Donnell $25,000.00
George Hume $25,000.00
Walter Hewlett $25,000.00
Floyd Kvamme $20,000.00
Stephen Herrick $15,000.00
Susan Peters $10,000.00
Stephen Bechtel $10,000.00
Ronald Nahas $10,000.00
Every one of these 14 contributors except one is also a direct contributor to Tom Campbell’s official Senate campaign, a public endorser of Tom Campbell’s Senate campaign, or both. The exception, Walter Hewlett, is a bitter enemy of Tom Campbell’s primary competitor Carly Fiorina, having fought a hard battle to prevent the HP-Compaq merger that Fiorina arranged before Fiorina left that corporation in ignominy. Together, these 14 contributors amassed nearly $1.5 million of unregulated money for a parallel Tom Campbell for Senate campaign, adding a considerable amount of heft to the Campbell campaign’s own $3.1 million, contributed by over a thousand of the little people.
So why, with all this unregulated parallel campaign cash, did Tom Campbell lose his bid for the Republican senate nomination? The voters of California might have had something to do with it (although we should keep in mind that these are the same California voters who tend to vote for the candidate with the largest number of pretty signs). But Campbell’s budget could have come within shooting distance of Carly Fiorina if it weren’t for Fiorina’s own stable of shadow campaign contributors, who chipped in $5.5 million. That stable fits just one person — Carly Fiorina herself.
Tom Campbell’s orchestrated big-money effort fell to Carly Fiorina’s huge-money effort, and Carly Fiorina is the Republican nominee.