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Outside money floods California congressional races and ballot battles

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Tomorrow’s election will be among the highest ever in California for campaign spending. This election cycle is without the governor’s office at stake and with the presidential race all but wrapped up in the state. Advocacy groups from outside of California are doing most of the spending, focusing on congressional races that are now competitive due to the state’s newly drawn voting districts.

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According to campaign filings with the federal government, special interest groups account for more than a quarter of all spending. There is a coalition of multinational corporations trying to stop Proposition 37 which would require companies to label food that has been genetically modified. California is watched nationally because initiatives passed here get copied and proposed in other states.

Another issue is the money that is given through nonprofits. California regulations say that contributors must be identified if they give to nonprofits with the intention of spending money on state campaigns. Today an Arizona nonprofit called Americans for Responsible Leadership revealed that some $11-million came from Americans for job security via the Center to Protect Patient Rights.

How do you feel about out of state groups giving money to influence California initiatives? Do you think this trend will start in other states?


Evan Halper, Sacramento bureau chief, Los Angeles Times

Joe Garofoli, politics writer, San Francisco Chronicle