Debt Consolidation

California's Top Ten Contributors

Posted on: June 04, 2008
Written by: UWSA Staff
Up to the California Campaign Finance Reform Page

Capitol Investors

1993-94 Top Ten Contributors to California Legislators and Legislative Campaigns

California Common Cause - October 1995 - This report was researched and written by Brian Tanner, with editorial support by Ruth Holton.

California Common Cause
926 J Street, Suite 910
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 443-1792
"The power of money drives out the power of ideas"
-Barry Keene, former state Senate Majority Leader


I. California's Top Ten Contributors

The Top Ten contributors to California legislators and legislative campaigns during the 1993/94 election cycle are as follows:

  1. CA Teachers Association PAC (CTA) - $1,370,483
  2. Container Supply Company/Rob Hurtt (Hurtt) - $1,215,559*
  3. Allied Business PAC (Allied) - $1,085,388
  4. CA Medical Association (CMA)- $1,040,130
  5. CA Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA) - $950,738
  6. Association of CA Insurance Co. (ACIC)- $903,900
  7. CA Optometrists PAC (OPAC) - $848,018
  8. CA Professional Firefighters Assoc. (CPFA) - $576,450
  9. CA State Employees Assoc. (CSEA) - $516,772
  10. CA Dental Assoc. (CDA) - $504,675
* The amount given for Rob Hurtt does not include the amount he spent on his own campaign.

Top Ten members contributed a record amount of $9,012,113 surpassing Top Ten contributions in the 91/92 election cycle by more than $1.2 million. The total contributed by the Top Ten contributors comprised nearly 10% of all the money raised by California legislators and legislative candidates.

With contributions of $1,370,483 to state legislators, the California Teachers Association (CTA) ranks as the number one contributor for the 93/94 cycle, and becomes the single largest contributor to legislators and legislative campaigns during an election cycle in California history. This is the second time the CTA has ranked #1 in the past 10 years.

The 1993/94 Top Ten list is distinguished by the extraordinary rise in political influence of Senator Rob Hurtt and Allied Business PAC. Senator Hurtt, who was recently elected Senate Minority Leader, is President and owner of Container Supply Company, and the founder of Allied Business PAC.

  • The contributions of Hurtt and Allied combined result in the largest amount given to legislative races in California history, at $2,300,947, almost $1 million more than the CTA, number one on the Top Ten list.
  • Senator Rob Hurtt's contributions, through Container Supply and personal resources, of $1,215,559 to other legislative candidates is a record amount contributed by any individual in California's history. It also marks the first time a sitting legislator has made the Common Cause Top Ten list. Hurtt contributed an additional $952,080 to his own campaign.
  • Allied is the top contributor to current legislators at $822,236.
The rise of Hurtt and Allied pushed the California Medical Association (CMA) to fourth place at $1,040,130. This is the first time in the ten years that Common Cause has tracked the Top Ten that the CMA has not been ranked number one or two.

The contributions by the 93/94 Top Ten set records on several other fronts:

  • The top four contributors, CTA, Hurtt, Allied, and the CMA, each surpassed the one million dollar mark. In the 1991/92 session, only two contributors went over one million.
  • Hurtt's contributions, which average $57,883 per recipient, surpass any previous Top Ten average. Allied is a close second at $46,000.
  • The Association for California Insurance Companies (ACIC) contribution of $337,000 to Charles Quackenbush set the record for the largest contribution to a single legislator. While much of the contributions went to Quackenbush's Insurance Commissioner campaign, he was nonetheless an active legislator when he received the contributions.
Of the 93/94 Top Ten contributors, the CMA, California Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA), and the California Dental Association (CDA), have been on the Top Ten list throughout the last ten years. During most of the eighties, the CMA and the CTLA ranked first and second respectively in Common Cause studies. The CTA has been on the Top Ten list every year except 1984. The Association for California Insurance Companies (ACIC) has made the Top Ten three times while the California State Employees Association (CSEA) has been on the list twice. Allied first appeared on the Top Ten list in 1992 at number four after only one year in operation. The California Professional Firefighters Association (CPFA) and Container Supply Company are newcomers to the Top Ten list.

The record amount of the 1993/94 contributions is partly due to the unprecedented number of legislators who sought higher offices in the 1994 election. Those running for constitutional offices include: Dean Andal, Rusty Areias, Bill Jones, Johan Klehs, Burt Margolin, Gwen Moore, Robert Presley, Charles Quackenbush, David Roberti, Stan Statham, Art Torres, Tom Umberg, and Cathie Wright. This exodus can largely be attributed to term limits. Though limits were created with the idea of "cleaning up government", we now have hundreds of thousands of dollars moving from special interest groups to legislators who are targeting higher offices. These contributions may not only influence the actions of candidates while serving out their legislative terms, but also may affect their actions in higher offices should they win.

The Top Ten ranking changes if contributions to legislators who ran for constitutional offices are excluded. Hurtt moves into first place, followed by Allied. The CTA drops to third. ACIC moves from sixth to seventh place, OPAC moves from seventh to sixth. CDA jumps to eighth place pushing the CPFA and the CSEA to ninth and tenth place respectively. The CMA and the CTLA remain unchanged at fourth and fifth respectively. The total Top Ten contributions drops to $7,785,098, only slightly higher than the 91/92 Top Ten total. It is important to note, however, that these candidates were powerful members of the Legislature and, therefore, would have received substantial Top Ten money regardless of their statewide campaigns.

Senator Hurtt, who was first elected in 1993, together with Allied were the deep pockets for many conservative Republican legislative candidates in the 1994 election. In the '91/'92 election cycle, Hurtt contributed just $165,865 to legislative candidates. As Hurtt said in a 1993 interview with the Orange County Register, "The bottom line scenario is: I spend this much money, I win. I spend this much money, I lose."

Allied Business PAC, an ideological PAC founded in 1991 by Hurtt, contributes almost exclusively to socially and fiscally conservative candidates. Unlike the other Top Ten PACs whose activities are financed by the dues of hundreds or thousands of members, Allied is financed almost exclusively by five wealthy Southern Californians; Senate Minority leader Rob Hurtt, Roland Hinz, Edward Atsinger, Howard Ahmanson, and Richard Riddle. Excluding Hurtt, these members gave collectively an additional $131,000 directly to legislative campaigns. They also contributed to a variety of other conservative PACs that in turn contributed to many of the same candidates supported by Hurtt and Allied.

To get a complete picture of the influence of Allied, it is important to look at the contributions of both Allied, its individual members and to the various conduit PACs they give to. (It is important to note this study focuses only on direct contributions to legislative candidates)

  • Together, Allied and its five members gave over $2.4 million to legislative campaigns in the 1994 elections. This number does not include the amount spent by Hurtt on his 1994 reelection campaign.
  • Allied and its member's total political contributions which included contributions to candidates, independent expenditures, contributions to other PACs and political party contributions amounted to over $5.3 million. (This number does not reflect the amount Hurtt spent on his own campaign.)
Recently Allied changed its name to the "California Independent Business PAC", and announced that it was going to start contributing to candidates in local races. According to Danielle Madison, Allied's manager, the previous two election cycles demonstrate, "how important it is to build a 'farm team' which can turn out quality candidates for statewide office."[1] This strategy places Allied in an excellent position to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the many open seats each election created as a result of term limits.

II. Top Legislative Recipients Of Top Ten Contributions

  • Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown is once again the top legislative recipient of Top Ten contributions at $612,952. Brown ranked as the number one recipient of contributions from five of the Top Ten: CTA, CMA, CTLA, OPAC, and CDA.
  • Senator Ray Haynes ranked second receiving $504,622 from the Top Ten. His single largest contributor was from fellow Senator Rob Hurtt at $319,103, followed by Allied at $165,919.
  • Senate Pro Tem Bill Lockyer ranked third at $449,697. Lockyer's largest Top Ten contribution was from the CTLA at $188,106 followed by the CTA and OPAC.
Assemblymember Quackenbush, now the state Insurance Commissioner, ranked fourth with $347,750, the bulk of which was received from the Association of California Insurance Companies. Tom Umberg is number five at $205,166. Morrissey was sixth at $202,901 with Allied accounting for $145,125 of this. Maddy ranked seventh at $193,900. Brulte ranked number eight at $184,540. His largest Top Ten contributors were OPAC at $51,740 followed by ACIC. Brulte received no contributions from Allied or Hurtt.

  • Hurtt's contribution of $319,103 to Ray Haynes is the largest amount given to a current legislator by a single top ten member.
In an unusual twist this year, four of the top twelve recipients are newcomers: Steve Baldwin, Jim Morrissey, Phil Hawkins and Dick Monteith. Each of these candidates received very large contributions from Allied and/or Hurtt.

  • Five current members received no contributions from the Top Ten: Assemblymembers Battin, Kuykendall and Frusetta, and Senators Beverly and Hayden.

III. Top Ten Investment Patterns

Democrats vs. Republicans

The Top Ten gave 54% of their contributions to Democrats and 46% to Republicans, identical to the '92 cycle. The '90 cycle was different than the last two with the Top Ten giving to Democrats at 67% and the Republicans at 33%.

The most partisan of the Top Ten are Allied and Rob Hurtt, each giving 100% to Republicans and CTLA which gave 99% to Democrats. The union PACs, CSEA, CTA and the CPFA also heavily favored Democrats giving 97%, 96% and 69% respectively. ACIC was the only other PAC that heavily favored Republicans giving 61% to them. OPAC, CMA and the CDA contributions parallel the overall ratio of 57% to Democrats and 43% to Republicans.

  • Many Top Ten donors increased their contributions to Democrats substantially over 91/92. CMAs contributions increased from 43% to 61%, followed by OPAC which increased 10% over '91/'92. According to a memo from Assemblymember Brulte titled "What a Difference a Majority Makes", Republican fundraising in the first six months of this year increased 42.4 percent from the same period in 1993. Democratic fundraising on the other hand decreased 32.2 % from 1993.
                   DEMOCRATS                     REPUBLICANS           
Donor         Amount     Percent             Amount      Percent
CTA          $1,312,034      96%               $48,659        4%       
Hurtt                 0       0%            $1,215,559      100%       
ALLIED                0       0%            $1,085,388      100%       
CMA            $613,418      61%              $389,968       39%       
CTLA           $918,488      99%               $11,750        1%       
ACIC           $260,650      29%              $637,750       61%       
OPAC           $538,100      64%              $297,166       36%       
CPFA           $414,988      69%              $182,599       31%       
CSEA           $493,282      97%               $16,230        3%       
CDA            $297,088      62%              $185,163       38%       
TOTAL        $4,848,048      54%            $4,070,232       46%       

Note: Contributions to candidates whose party affiliation could not be identified were not included in this chart.

Winners vs. Losers

During the 93/94 session, 77% of the Top Ten's contributions went to winning candidates while just 23% went to losing candidates. This is up from 1992 when 68% of the funds went to winners. However, like '92, most of the contributions to losing candidates went to open seat races. Of the Top Ten's contributions to candidates in open seats, 58% went to losing candidates and 42% to winning candidates.

  • In incumbent-challenger races, 90% of the Top Ten's contributions went to the winning candidate, a substantial number of whom were incumbents.
  • OPAC and ACIC were very successful contributing to winners at 92% and 89% respectively.
  • The union PACs, lead by the CSEA, gave over 30% of their contributions to losing legislative candidates.
                      WINNERS                    LOSERS        

Donor          Amount    Percent         Amount     Percent
CTA             $677,346     68%          $315,640      32%        
Hurtt           $766,507     63%          $449,052      37%        
ALLIED          $822,236     76%          $263,152      24%        
CMA             $743,553     83%          $147,700      17%        
CTLA            $707,088     87%          $103,150      13%        
ACIC            $440,150     89%           $58,500      11%        
OPAC            $592,659     92%           $48,283       8%        
CPFA            $227,424     68%          $107,245      32%        
CSEA            $278,990     67%          $135,679      33%        
CDA             $324,409     88%           $44,323      12%        
TOTAL         $5,580,362     77%        $1,672,724      23%        
Note: This chart is based on contributions to legislative candidates only.

Incumbents, Challengers And Open Seats


Incumbents, as always, were the big winners receiving 67% of Top Ten contributions. This is an 8% increase over 1992, but still considerably less than the 92% received in 1990, prior to term limits.

  • OPAC and the CTLA gave 92% and 90% respectively to incumbents.
Allied's contribution patterns are radically different from the other Top Ten PACs. Allied's strategy is to focus on open seat races and challenger races in marginal districts. Allied contributed just 29% of its campaign contributions to incumbents, 93% of which went to just four candidates. Furthermore, Assemblymember Ray Haynes, who was running for the state Senate, received the bulk of these contributions at $165,919.

Though Hurtt gave more than Allied to incumbents, at 52% ($635,578) he still gave a significantly smaller percentage of his contributions to incumbents than the other members of the Top Ten.

  • Hurtt's $319,103 contribution to Sen. Ray Haynes constituted 50% of his contributions to incumbents.


There is little incentive for the Top Ten to give to challengers unless directed to do so by the legislative leadership. In the past, challenger contributions were primarily given to send a message to the incumbent and other legislators -"You cross us and we'll give to your opponent".

  • Challengers received just 13% of Top Ten contributions, similar to the 10% given in 1992.
Hurtt and Allied far surpassed the others in contributions to challengers at 36% and 31% respectively. Allied's and Hurtt's contributions, which account for 81% of all Top Ten challenger contributions, distort the real picture of traditional PAC contributions to challengers.

  • Excluding Allied's and Hurtt's numbers, the challengers received under three percent of Top Ten money.
In contrast to Hurtt and Allied, the CMA gave no contributions to challengers. OPAC contributed just one percent and the CPFA, CDA and CTLA gave three percent of their contributions to challengers.

  • Six challengers (out of 75 challenger candidates) won, receiving $465,124 from the Top Ten. Four of these six candidates, Steve Baldwin, Phil Hawkins, George House and Dick Monteith were supported by Allied. Allied's contributions to these four challengers constituted 20% of the candidates total receipts and 44% of the total Top Ten contributions to challengers.

Open Seats

Under term limits the Top Ten can no longer afford to ignore candidates in open-seat races. The candidates in the '94 open seat races received over $1.4 million, 20%, of the total Top Ten contributions. While this is somewhat down from '92, it is far higher than the 6% received in 1990, prior to term limits.

  • Allied Business PAC, by far the largest contributor to open seat candidates, gave 40% of its funds, $435,494, to open seat races, which accounted for 31% of all Top Ten contributions to open seats. This is consistent with Allied's pattern of targeting open seat races with local conservative candidates. Focusing on candidates in Republican open seat districts is one of the keys to Allied's success.
  • The average Top Ten contribution to candidates in open seat races was $63,636, as compared to the $74,209 Top Ten average for all races.
  • OPAC and the CTLA gave to just 7% to open seat candidates.

Hedging Bets

Several Top Ten contributors gave to more than one candidate in the same race. In three open seat races, OPAC gave to both general election candidates. In Assembly District 24, OPAC gave $625 to Foglia and $2,000 to Cunneen. In AD 17, OPAC gave $1,700 to Simas and $2,500 to Machado. In AD 69 it gave $1,000 to each Metzler and Morrissey. CDA was the only other Top Ten donor to contribute to opposing candidates in an open seat race in the general election.

In the Costa/Wyman race, Senate District 16, where both candidates were incumbents, OPAC, ACIC, CMA and CPFA each contributed to both candidates. However, Costa was favored, receiving over $50,000 from the above four while Wyman received a little over $10,000.

There were eight incumbent challenger races in which the Top Ten members gave to both candidates. Most of these races involved the donor contributing substantially to one candidate and a token amount to the other candidate. OPAC, however, gave a substantial amount to each candidate in these races. For example, in AD 77, OPAC gave $1,000 to incumbent Tom Connolly and $2,500 to challenger Steve Baldwin. In AD 54, OPAC gave $1,000 to challenger Steve Kuykendall and $1,900 to incumbent Betty Karnette. The CTA, Allied, Hurtt and the CSEA were the only Top Ten members who were loyal to one candidate per race.

              Incumbents           Challengers              Open Seats
Donor       Amount      %         Amount      %           Amount      %

CTA        $677,996    68%        $78,186     8%         $236,804    24%
Hurtt      $635,578    52%       $439,399    36%         $140,582    12%
ALLIED     $316,952    29%       $332,942    31%         $435,494    40%
CMA        $691,599    78%              0     0%         $198,654    22%
CTLA       $733,138    90%        $22,500     3%          $54,600     7%
ACIC       $391,150    78%        $23,000     5%          $84,500    17%
OPAC       $591,275    92%         $3,050     1%          $45,617     7%
CPFA       $240,638    72%        $17,553     5%          $76,300    23%
CSEA       $318,010    77%        $26,229     6%          $71,430    17%
CDA        $287,123    78%         $5,000     1%          $75,750    21%
TOTAL    $4,883,459    67%       $947,859    13%       $1,419,731    20%
Note: This chart is based on legislative candidates only.

IV. Top Ten Contributions To Current Members

  • The Top Ten gave to 113 of the 120 current members. OPAC gave to the most members, 106, as it did in '92. The CMA ranked second supporting 103 current members.
At the other end, Rob Hurtt gave to just 14 current members. However, these 14 received an average contribution of $54,750, far higher than the averages of the other Top Ten members except Allied. Next to Hurtt, Allied gave to the fewest current members, 18, but gave these members an average of $45,680. These 18 members constitute 75% of the 24 candidates supported by Allied in the '94 election. The CTA ranked third in average contribution per current member at $11,261 and the CMA fourth at $11,034. CPFA had the lowest average per current member at $3,143.


  • All the new members, with the exception of Jim Battin and Peter Frusetta, received Top Ten contributions for a total of $1,050,608.
  • OPAC contributed to the most new members at 21.
The success of Allied's unique strategy is most evident in the number of freshmen legislators who won in large part due to Allied's support. Allied contributed $515,284 or 49% of the total Top Ten contributions to new members. Three freshmen, Steve Baldwin, Phil Hawkins and Jim Morrissey each received over $120,000 from Allied.

Hurtt contributed $189,929 to freshmen, of which 64%, $122,252, went to just one member, Dick Monteith. Monteith received 30% of his total contributions from Hurtt and Allied.

New members received an average of $36,365 from Top Ten donors. If Allied's and Hurtts' contributions are excluded, the average drops to $12,388.

            Number of current legislators who        Average Contributionto a
Donor         received Top Ten contributions                legislator

CTA                         60                               $11,291 
Hurtt                       14                               $54,750
Allied                      18                               $45,680
CMA                        105                                $7,588
CTLA                        68                               $10,746 
ACIC                        94                                $5,025
OPAC                       108                                $6,177
CPFA                        70                                $3,107
CSEA                        61                                $4,942
CDA                         96                                $3,916

V. Top Ten Contributions To Departing Legislators

The Top Ten contributed $1,353,934 to legislators who did not seek reelection to their seat in 1994. However, most of these members ran for other offices.

The Top Ten gave $60,500 to departing members who did not pursue other political avenues.

Though these legislators were not seeking another term, they were still in positions of influence. Sometimes lawmakers consciously remind others about the power they have until their departure. In a 1992 fund-raising solicitation, retiring Assemblyman Nolan Frizzelle of Fountain Valley said,

"P.S.,I will still be an active member of the Natural Resources, Government Organization, Education and the Ways and Means committees through the remainder of the session." [2]

  • Allied and Hurtt, continuing their unique giving patterns, were the only Top Ten members that did not contribute to departing members.
Top Ten contributions to departing legislators were generally high because so many sought higher office. The CMA gave to all the departing members followed by the CDA, who gave to all except Rusty Areias, and OPAC, who gave to all except Marian Bergeson and Waddie Deddah. The largest contributions to departing legislators were received by those running for statewide offices: Chuck Quackenbush (Insurance Commissioner) at $347,750, Tom Umberg (Attorney General) at $205,166, Delaine Eastin (Superintendent of Public Education) at $180,293, and David Roberti (Treasurer) at $125,246.

VI. Contributions To Off-Year Senators

Senators who were not up for reelection in '94 received $237,229 from the Top Ten. This is down from $337,000 in '92. The largest contributor to off-year Senators was OPAC at $67,354 followed by the CMA at $53,700.

  • Allied and Hurtt were the only Top Ten members not to contribute to off-year Senators, followed by the CTA which gave just $5,200. Of the off-year Senators who were not seeking another office, the top recipients are as follows; Pat Johnston, ($34,460) Henry Mello, ($24,712) Tim Leslie, ($21,600) Teresa Hughes, ($20,612) Al Alquist, ($17,212).

VII. Total Political Expenditures

During the 93/94 session, the Top Ten spent nearly $43 million on state political issues, including legislative campaigns, statewide campaigns, independent expenditures, lobbying, ballot measures, political parties, and miscellaneous PACs and committees. This does not include expenditures for local elections. The amount spent on ballot measures increased to $14 million, up from $3.5 million in the '92 cycle. Nearly all of this can be attributed to the CTA's anti-voucher initiative campaign. The CTA also led in total political expenditures at $20,324,595, far above anyone else. Again, much of this amount reflects expenditures on the anti-voucher campaign.


DONOR             AMOUNT        
CTA            $20,324,595   
Hurtt           $2,271,749   
Allied          $1,638,919   
CMA             $3,986,182   
CTLA            $3,321,236   
ACIC            $3,465,747   
OPAC            $1,710,718   
CPFA            $1,256,966   
CSEA            $3,402,397   
CDA             $1,431,399   
TOTAL          $42,809,908   

VIII. Lobbying Activities

"If you're a major donor, you get on a member's calendar." [3] -Christine R. Minnehan, lobbyist

  • The Top Ten members spent nearly $14 million on lobbying activities.
Major campaign contributors do not give hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars, to lawmakers out of the goodness of their heart. They have an agenda and contributions help them in achieving it by ensuring access to legislators. In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Richard Spencer, president of the California Optometric Association's political action committee said:
"We don't have any ideological bent. We basically use our money to gain access. It's very important for us, under the scheme of things, to have friends in the Legislature. We're a legislated profession."
Three of the Top Ten contributors, the CTLA, CMA and the ACIC, also ranked in the 1994 Top Ten Lobbyist Employers compiled by the California Secretary of State's office. In 1993 four of the Top Ten members were among the Secretary of State's Top 10 lobbyist employers; CTA, CMA, ACIC, and the CTLA. Allied was the only Top Ten member not to directly spend anything on lobbying activities.

The CTA's main legislative concern is the budget. With more pressure building to cut the budget, maintaining current education funding has become a priority for the CTA. Of the 17 bills sponsored by the CTA during the 93/94 session, nine dealt with retirement. For example AB 449/Horcher would have added to early retirement provisions. The other 8 CTA sponsored bills related to issues like teacher benefits and education quality. Over 200 bills were supported by the CTA during the 93/94 session.

The appearance of Rob Hurtt in the study not only is unprecedented, but creates some difficulty in discussing lobbying activities. While Hurtt spent nothing directly on lobbying, Container Supply's contribution of $160,000 to the Capitol Resources Institute (CRI), a conservative group which lobbies on "education and family issues"[4] should be considered a lobbying expenditure. Furthermore, it would be difficult to say that Hurtt does not lobby directly. His position of Senate Minority Leader puts him in a very unique and advantageous position among Top Ten members when it comes to lobbying. According to one Republican legislator, "(Hurtt) goes way beyond the bounds of propriety in the way he tries to lead people around,"[5] he added, "this influence was particularly felt during the speakership battle." Given the magnitude of Hurtt's contributions to fellow legislators, it isn't difficult to understand why he has such influence.

As the newly elected Senate Republican leader, Senator Hurtt says he will give higher priority to winning the 1996 elections than to public policy matters. In a recent interview Hurtt said he saw the leader's main responsibility to be to "support his incumbents and get new people elected to the caucus."[6]

Unlike the other Top Ten members, Allied had no direct lobbying expenditures. In the late eighties, Hurtt and Howard Ahmanson founded CRI but they soon felt this effort would be better served by first re-populating the Legislature with conservative members. Allied was formed with this goal in mind. However, Allied's members have continued supporting CRI and other organizations that lobby on similar issues. CRI received $280,000 in 1993 from Allied's members, including Hurtt, accounting for 71% of CRI's receipts. Senator Hurtt's Chief of Staff, Peter Henderson, is the vice president and former executive director for CRI.

The biggest battles for the CMA have been over Health Maintenance Organizations. Over 200 bills last session dealt with the relationship between HMOs and Physicians. Many bills sponsored or supported by the CMA are intended to protect or benefit physicians when dealing with HMOs. This session, SB 835 would limit HMO's ability to select and negotiate physician rates. The CMA has been successful in defeating attempts to impose tough self-referral laws. This legislation would have penalized doctors from referring patients to treatment and diagnostic centers in which physicians have a financial interest. The CMA also advocates limiting malpractice awards and has supported maintaining state funding of health care for poor and indigent persons.

The CTLA focuses on the many bills which would place restrictions on the ability to sue and the amount of rewards. A significant issue in recent years has been no-fault insurance. The CTLA has helped to defeat numerous no-fault auto insurance bills such as AB 456/Brulte and SB 1994/Leslie. The CTLA also helped defeat numerous bills aimed at changing attorney fee standards. According to the CTLA, AB 857/Kuykendall "would require courts to award attorney fees and costs to prevailing defendants paid by the plaintiffs, jointly and severally".[7] AB 1942/Knowles "would authorize courts to order a party's attorney to pay expenses including court costs and fees, for nonmeritorious claims."[8] AB 1095/Haynes would increase funding to programs helping crime victims by re-directing money from the legal services trust fund. AB 1791/Johannessen "would re-direct IOLTA funds, stopping legal aid programs".[9]

ACIC has been very successful at weakening Proposition 103 through the legislative process. Since the passage of Prop. 103, the Legislature has passed several bills providing exemptions to Prop. 103 requirements. In 1994, AB 3445/Margolin would have restored the original provisions of Prop. 103. ACIC was ardently opposed to AB 3445 and it was defeated in committee. This year the industry is behind AB 341/Knowles, now a two year bill. This legislation would return much of the regulatory powers to the industry itself, stripping the Insurance Commissioner of much of its authority over insurance companies.[10] Other ACIC issues in the Legislature include workers compensation, earthquake insurance and implementation of some form of no-fault insurance system. Thus far, ACIC has been less successful with these latter issues.

OPAC has been working to pass legislation granting optometrists the authority to prescribe therapeutic drugs or treat patients if an eye illness is determined. In the 1993-94 session this was attempted through AB 2020/Isenberg. Currently, they must refer such patients to physicians or opthomologists. The opthomologists have opposed any Legislation that would give the optometrists this capacity, citing improper training. If passed, this type of bill would increase the scope of practice, thus the revenues for the optometrists.

As with most public employee unions, the CPFA has a stake in the budget outcome. In an age of improved fire prevention technology and building designs, structural fires are less frequent and damaging. Combine this with pressure to shrink the budget and the CPFA must fight to maintain funding for state and local fire departments. A second issue for the CPFA is the turf battle brewing between the fire and ambulance services. The firefighters have been slowly moving into the ambulance service in recent years. This move is abetted by the close relationships many fire departments have with local governments. In 1993/94 the California Ambulance Association sponsored AB 1373/Tucker, which would "clarify existing state law requiring all ambulance providers, including fire departments, to be selected through competitive bidding and subject to county quality oversight." [11] The bill would have placed the fire departments on the same playing field as the other potential service providers and eliminate the advantages many fire departments have due to close ties to local governments. The CPFA was able to successfully oppose this bill. The 1995 version of the bill is AB 230/Tucker.

As a union, most of the CSEA's activities are focused on protecting member's income and benefits. The CSEA has been instrumental in defeating or weakening many bills that would have privatized many state services. During last session, Senator Newt Russell carried SB 403, which according to the CSEA, "would have declared it to be the intent of the Legislature to contract out or privatize all possible state operations."[12] The CSEA was able to have this language deleted, leaving a much weaker bill. Other legislative issues vital to the CSEA include compensation, employee benefits, and workplace conditions.

Last session, the CDA was instrumental in defeating AB 221/Areias. AB 221 was just the latest in a long stream of proposed legislation that would allow licensed Dental Hygienists to clean teeth, apply fluoride treatments and clean mouths in practices independent from dentists. This idea has widespread support and was proven successful by a pilot program resulting in no complaints from 25,000 patients.[13] Yet, the CDA claims this move would be a safety threat and has successfully defeated all bills of this nature.

Donor           Expenditure

CTA             $3,557,894   
Hurtt             $168,000   
Allied                  $0   
CMA             $2,767,195   
CTLA            $2,179,787   
ACIC            $2,344,591   
OPAC              $763,650   
CPFA              $434,699   
CSEA              $906,371   
CDA               $757,032   
TOTAL          $13,879,219   


The record contributions of the '93/'94 Top Ten donors clearly demonstrates that term limits have done nothing to stop the flood of special interest money into Sacramento. In fact, because of the significant increase in open seat races, term limits have made it possible for wealthy interests to have an unprecedented impact on the electoral process, as evidenced by the success of Allied Business PAC and Senator Rob Hurtt's Container Supply Company.

Common Cause has been tracking the Top Ten donors since the 1983-84 session. Each year, with one exception, the amount given by the Top Ten has increased. The total given this session by the Top Ten marks a 127% increase over the '83-'84 session.

While campaign contributions do not necessarily purchase legislation, they do ensure access to legislators. Therein lies the problem, for it is no secret that access is vital to legislative success. According to former CMA chief lobbyist Jay Michael,

"It would be a distortion to say that the whole process is corrupt, and that money drives everything, but it's the single most powerful engine driving public policy, driving the decisions that are made." [14]

We ostensibly have a system of representative democracy, in which legislators represent the citizens of our state. Our current campaign system has become one in which our legislators are more likely to represent those who finance their campaigns then the constituents who vote for them.

After years of failed attempts to win passage of campaign reform, it is clear that elected officials are incapable of changing the status quo. If the citizens want change, they must implement it themselves. California Common Cause has joined with the League of Women Voters, United We Stand America, the American Association of Retired Persons and many other organizations and individuals to qualify a campaign finance reform measure for the November 1996 ballot.

The California Political Reform Initiative (CPRI) would apply to all levels of government -- city halls and boards of supervisor, the Legislature and Executive Branch. It would strictly limit campaign contributions and spending, ban fundraising in non-election years, ban campaign warchests, prohibit candidates from soliciting contributions from lobbyists, and require disclosure of major funders on all ballot measure advertising.

The California Political Reform Act of 1996 will dramatically change the status quo. Had the Act been in place for the 93/94 election cycle, the amount that any one donor could have contributed to all legislative candidates combined would have been limited to $25,000. The total Top Ten contributions would have been no more than $250,000 -- a mere 3% of their 1994/95 total contributions.


The absence of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association may be surprising to those familiar with California politics. However, the pattern for the CCPOA has been to be on the Top Ten list during non-gubernatorial years and off the Top Ten list during gubernatorial years. During the 1993-94 session, the CCPOA gave over $500,000 to the Wilson campaign, and in the 1989-90 session they gave approximately $1 million to the Wilson campaign. In both of the above sessions, the CCPOA failed to make the Common Cause Top Ten list. However, in the non-gubernatorial election cycles of 1991-92 and 1987-88, the CCPOA placed second and fifth respectively on the Common Cause Top Ten study. The above pattern indicates a shift of focus from legislative campaigns to gubernatorial campaigns in gubernatorial years. One, therefore shouldn't be too surprised that the CCPOA is regularly one of the biggest winners in the California budget battles.

The contribution amount attributed to Rob Hurtt is derived from Container Supply's major donor statements and the allocation page part I (transfers from campaign funds) and part II (personal contributions to others) of his candidate committee statement. We were careful to exclude from the total transfered by his candidate controlled committee any contributions from sources other than Hurtt. Hurtt's contribution total includes amounts given to candidates and candidate controlled committees. It does not include the $950,000 expenditure he made to his Senatorial campaign. Nor does it include amounts given to PACs who then gave it to other candidates, such as the $110,000 he gave to the Conservative Opportunity PAC.

Allied's members contributed to Allied in the following amounts :Hurtt, $187,000 ; Ahmanson, $750,000; Riddle, $237,000; Hinz, $247,000; Atsinger, $207,000. Citizens for change was a committee backed primarily by Allied and it's members which spent $116,191 independently on Maurice Johannessen.


The campaign finance information provided in this study was derived and assembled from campaign disclosure statements filed with the California Secretary of State's office. The Top Ten contributors were determined by contributions made to all legislative campaigns, including those for special elections, retirees, defeated candidates, and senators who were not up for re-election in '94. The campaign statements used are those filed by the donor not the recipient, thus discrepancies are likely to occur. Furthermore, in doing the research, the author was confronted with numerous problems relating to the campaign disclosure statements. These include mathematical errors, inconsistencies from donor to donor regarding reporting standards, lack of correlation between committee numbers and office sought, ambiguity, numerous amendments often placed in wrong folders or stapled to improper periods, etc.. Given the absence of clear and organized filings, the author was forced to make assumptions in some situations.


"Deep Pockets: 1991-92 Top Ten Contributors to California legislative campaigns", California Common Cause (July, 1993)

"A Fist Full of Dollars: 1989-90 Top Ten Contributors to Legislative Campaigns", California Common Cause (July 1991)

1993 and 1994 Lobbying expenditures reports, published by the California Secretary of State.

Robert Gunnison. "Conservative PAC for Local Candidates" San Francisco Chronicle, July 1, 1995

Schmitt, Christopher H. and Pere Carey. "Legislature for Sale." San Jose Mercury News, Special Report. January 8-12, 1995

Warren, Jenifer and Eric Bailey. "No Ordinary Freshman Senator" Los Angeles Times, August 25, 1995, A3

"1993-1994 Final Legislative Report" Forum, December, 1994, p. 36

"Quackenbush ducks", editorial, Sacramento Bee July 11, 1995

Scott, Steve. "Changing of the Right Guard" California Jounal, October, 1995 p. 8

"Ambulance cronyism", editorial, Sacramento Bee November 3, 1994

"Dangerous Bills in the Legislature" California Pride, May/June 1995 p.18,

California Pride, January/February 1995

California Pride, March/April 1995

Fanelli, Susan. "Dentists Win Turf Battle in Assembly Health Committee" Capitol Weekly, April 12, 1993

"Assembly Panel Supports Laws Backed by Insurers." Los Angeles Times, April 20, 1994

Mathews, Jon. "Fight looms on liability suits." Sacramento Bee, February 6, 1995