Gaming Indian tribes have emerged as bigger players in Sacramento than the power companies that dominated California politics for much of the 20th century.
The pharmaceutical lobby’s political spending is nearly triple that of the state chamber of commerce.
And when it comes to money and politics, nobody approaches the big public employees’ unions, who spent more than $383 million in the past decade on lobbying and campaign contributions.
Those are some second-day insights drawn from “California’s Billion Dollar Club,” a study of a decade’s worth of lobbying and donation reports prepared by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
The study, released yesterday, lists 15 mega-donors that combined to spend more than $1 billion on California politics since the dawn of the 21st century. For good measure, the report added 10 more, thus providing a top-25 list.
The California Teachers Association topped the charts, at almost $212 million in political spending. Slot number 25 on the list is occupied by the Consumer Attorneys of California, whose budget was 12 percent of the teachers, at about $22 million.
The FPPC’s report didn’t analyze its top-25 list according to interest groups, so California Watch did.
- The big public employees unions combined to spend $383.6 million on politics in California – far more than anybody else.
- The tribes pumped in almost $280 million. That’s more than double the combined spending of Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison – utilities that were so powerful in California politics for so many decades. Together, they spent $112 million, and together ranked number 5.
- Medical interests spent $193 million. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America alone spent almost $105 million. By contrast, the state chamber of commerce spent $39 million.
- Energy companies spent $136 million.