February 2, 2012 archive

AD-38: Defense Contractor Contributions Help Lock Patricia McKeon in the Room


Speaker Boehner, Patricia McKeon and Rep. Buck McKeon

Shane Goldmacher over at the National Journal has more on the grand plan of Rep. Buck McKeon.

The Assembly race pits Patricia McKeon against her husband’s former district director in a bitter GOP primary. The former aide, Scott Wilk, declined to comment on her fundraising. However, last week he told National Journal Daily: “The congressman has told people in the district that he plans to lock her in the room, raise all of her money, and win it on her name ID.”

The top two election process in the California June Primary Election  may very well lend itself to this strategy. Patricia McKeon’s competitors have NOT been able to match the fundraising prowess as her husband’s defense contractor friends in Washington.

California law bars registered state lobbyists from contributing to candidates for the Legislature. But Beltway lobbyists are free from such restrictions – and the McKeons have taken advantage. Last October, the congressman hosted a fundraiser for his wife at the Capitol Hill Club, a Republican enclave steps from the Capitol and next door to the GOP’s national headquarters. Afterward, numerous federal defense lobbyists opened up their wallets.

John Killeen, a lobbyist for SAIC, a defense contractor that spent $2 million on lobbying last year, contributed $500. Tania Hanna, a lobbyist for Harris, a defense firm that spent $3.3 million on lobbying in 2011, contributed $250. Jeffery Walter, CEO of lobbying firm The Walter Group, contributed $500. Among his firm’s clients is Lockheed Martin. None returned calls for comment. Beau Boulter LLC, a lobbying firm based in Arlington, Va., with defense clients, also contributed $1,500.

So, will the voters in California AD-38 even know that this election is being bought and paid for by Washington defense contractor lobbyists who wish to curry favor with the candidate’s husband?

Several of Patricia McKeon’s contributors are executives at defense firms.

Joseph Kimmit, an executive vice president for Oshkosh, who lives in McLean, Va., contributed $500. Oshkosh, headquartered in Oshkosh, Wis., was the nation’s ninth largest defense contractor in 2010, according to Government Executive, with more than $6 billion in business. Barney Klinger, CEO of Applied Companies in Santa Clarita, Calif., which is in McKeon’s district, contributed $1,000. His firm manufactures military air conditioners, among other items.

Daniel Packard, senior vice president of sales for Revision Military, maker of military sunglasses, contributed the maximum $3,900 to her primary bid. Packard, whose filing indicates he lives in Illinois, said he tries to “stay aware” and support good candidates everywhere.

He has made only one contribution to a federal candidate, $1,500 to Buck McKeon, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. “I don’t really discuss who I donate to or why,” he said.

I bet…


Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 2, 2012


Facebook workers in Menlo Park, California

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Facebook IPO triggers California budget fracas

Moments after Facebook filed its IPO on Wednesday, California legislative Republicans used it to take a swipe at Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax initiative.

It’s an indication of how the public offering will dominate not only the business blogs, but discussions among budget wonks in the state Capitol in coming weeks.

The leaders of the small GOP caucuses in both houses of the Legislature released a joint statement urging Brown to use the expected windfall of state tax revenue from the IPO — very, very rough estimates are in the $500-million ballpark — to “protect our public schools from the Governor’s trigger cuts and pay down the state’s debt service.”

Brown, a Democrat, has proposed cutting more than $4 billion from public schools if voters in November reject his proposed temporary tax hike to close California’s persistent budget deficit. Republicans oppose the tax hike and would rather see Facebook revenues go toward keeping schools solvent this year.

Of course, the statement from Assemblywoman Connie Conway (R-Tulare) and state Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) urges that the revenues be used just for one-time purposes rather than ongoing funding. So the Facebook cash wouldn’t go as far as a five-year tax hike.

California lawmakers cut ties with Komen over funding decision

Several California lawmakers are severing ties with Susan G. Komen for the Cure over the breast cancer foundation’s decision to stop providing breast cancer exam funding to Planned Parenthood.

Democratic Sen. Noreen Evans, who chairs the Legislative Women’s Caucus, blasted the decision in a statement, saying it “defies logic … to deny the most disadvantaged women the critical care they need.”

Evans announced Wednesday that the caucus has decided to suspend its annual bake sale to raise money for the foundation and withdraw its sponsorship of a recent tradition of illuminating the Capitol dome with pink lights to raise awareness of breast cancer.

“I am frustrated, angered, and offended that Susan G. Komen for the Cure let a radical political viewpoint withdraw its support for women’s health care,” Evans said in a statement, referring to reports that the funding decision was made in response to pressure from anti-abortion groups. “I am hopeful they will reconsider their draconian move and fund Planned Parenthood throughout the nation.”

Budget Dreams and Dangers of Facebook’s IPO

In the world of state budget writing, the past is often prologue. And that’s why news of a tech company’s dazzling initial public offering is nothing new in Sacramento, and why there’s both hope… and caution.

And the bottom line: the eventual capital gains from the 2012 Facebook IPO will no doubt help balance the state’s books. But the smart bet is that it won’t be enough to stave off the vast majority of the tough choices that lie ahead.

Wednesday’s IPO announcement by the Menlo Park company is the jumping off point of my budget story on this morning’s edition of The California Report — specifically, the impact on state finances.

The easy assumption to make is that Facebook will be, for the budget, better than Google was in 2006. After all, news reports say that the search engine giant’s 2004 initial public offering will be dwarfed by the king of social media. So that would mean the state’s finances are in store for some great times?

Well, not so fast.

The news, as we remember from the spring of 2006, was amazing: a $7 billion windfall of tax revenues, led largely by Google. The company’s insiders and staffers began cashing in their IPO stocks on Valentine’s Day 2005, meaning much of the state taxes they paid on capital gains showed up in the 2006 calendar year. And while the data doesn’t single out Google, state tax stats show that the number of $1 million+ tax returns in California jumped an amazing 27% between 2004 and 2006.

Jerry Brown: California no worse than elsewhere in manufacturing losses

Gov. Jerry Brown said this evening that California is losing manufacturing at a rate no faster than the rest of the country, telling the TV show host and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm the problem is a national one.

“This is the place where Facebook started, where Hewlett-Packard started, where Steve Jobs built Apple Computer just a few miles from where we’re sitting,” California’s Democratic governor said on Current TV’s “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm. “This is a place of innovation.”

Enjoy your morning!