Who owns the California State Legislature?


There is only one answer to this question: public sector unions. Anyone who claims otherwise is either misinformed or has a personal or professional motivation to deceive themselves and others.

Before offering evidence of the financial power of public sector unions, consider the power these unions wield that is not explicitly financial. These unions operate the machinery of government, with all that that entails.

Members of public sector unions work in the myriad local, regional and state bureaucracies that businesses depend on for building permits and operating permits. Among the functions of these bureaucracies is the power to enforce regulations, review mandatory company reports and conduct inspections. It only takes a few union fanatics within these bureaucracies to decide to target any company that helps a politician or a cause that the union opposes.

The teachers’ union influences – many would say it controls – what is taught in public schools. This means that their political ideology and political agenda are marketed to children in K-12 and in public colleges and universities. Throughout their childhood and youth, California public school students are indoctrinated to support public sector unions and the political agenda they promote.

Make no mistake about the nature of the political agenda of public sector unions; he is intrinsically leftist. The bigger and more intrusive the government becomes, the more unionized government employees are hired and the more dues these unions collect.

Union influence is long-lasting. Politicians can oversee the administrative machinery of government, but politicians come and go. If a politician opposes the policies of the public sector unions, he faces defeat in the next election. The moment a politician has learned how things are run in Sacramento, they are qualified. But the union leadership remains intact.

Financial influence of unions

Which brings us to the financial weight of these unions. A study conducted a few years ago by the California Policy Center found that public sector unions collect and spend nearly $1.0 billion per year. About a third of that money is used explicitly for political campaigns at all levels of state and local government, amounting to more than $600 million to be split around each election cycle. That’s a lot, even in a state as big as California. And on top of that $600 million, additional funds are spent on lobbying, get-out-the-vote efforts, and massive public education campaigns that aren’t considered reportable political advocacy but invariably bear a message and a purpose.

Public sector unions in California are also extremely partisan, and this may be one of the root causes of California becoming a one-party state. The respected non-partisan political news website Cal account recently published two articles, one covering the “interesting” November races for the State Assembly and the other covering the races for the State Senate. What they didn’t cover, however, was the role of union money in supporting Democrats.

For instance, they covered 13 Assembly races. For the most part, they chose the races considered competitive. Of those 13 “competitive” races, four were between two Democrats and one between two Republicans. That leaves eight close Assembly races in November where one candidate from each major party is pitted against the other.

It is a relatively easy exercise, although tedious, to see who the donors of these candidates are. On the California Secretary of State’s website, there is a database, updated every few months, that shows campaign donations by candidate. From a review of races in the eight competitive Assembly Districts identified by Cal Matters — 7, 22, 27, 40, 47, 70, 74 and 76 — it was clear that public sector unions are heavily biased in in favor of supporting Democratic candidates. The data is unambiguous.

By simply sorting the contributions by amounts, using spreadsheets downloadable from the California Secretary of State’s website, of the top 20 contributors for each candidate, the Democratic candidates got almost all of the money. of the union. For example, adding up the top 20 contributions to each of these eight Democratic candidates, you have a total of 160 donations. For these Democrats, 108 of the donations, or 68%, came from unions, almost all from public sector unions.

Peter Schiavo, Democratic candidate in the 40th Assembly District, received 20 of his top 20 donations from the unions. The Democrat receiving the fewest union donations was Ken Cooley with seven union donations in his top 20, but another five of his top 20 came from the California Democratic Party. In most cases, not only was union money heavily represented in their top 20 donations, but these donations were the largest donations, appearing at the top of the list. Esmerelda Soria, for example, a candidate for the 27th Assembly District, only got 9 of her top 20 from unions, but they were the top nine.

In terms of labor campaign support, candidates for the Republican Assembly do not fare as well. In the same eight races, they got a grand total of 6 dons in their top 20, or just under 4%. Of those 6, there were 4 going to a candidate, Juan Alanis, the GOP candidate running in the 22nd Assembly District.

The story of the California Senate elections is the same. Cal account identified eight interesting senatorial races. Half among them, a Democrat is running against another Democrat. Of the other four, with 80 spots in the top 20 donors to be assessed, unions filled 40. For the four Republican candidates, only four of the 80 top 20 donations came from unions, just 5%, and all 4 went to Roger Niello, a veteran politician who receives money from prison guards and police unions.

In general, Democrats received donations from public sector unions, other Democratic campaigns, the Democratic Party, and large individual contributors – some individual names popped up repeatedly. Republicans, on the other hand, had fewer individuals making big contributions, less party money, and instead took money from business interests.

Unions vs companies

One would hope that the money from commercial interests would thwart the unions. This is not the case. Corporate money goes to incumbents, regardless of party. Serious corporate money only appears when faced with an existential threat, like the Uber and Lyft fight against AB 5, legislation on independent contractors. But in this case, these companies did not try to fix AB 5’s flaws for everyone who fell victim to them, but only sought to carve out an exception.

Looking at the donations in these races presented by Cal Matters, companies at risk, such as California’s overregulated and water-starved agriculture industry, were backing candidates they believed could help them survive. But California companies have not united to challenge the power of public sector unions and, in most cases, have in fact forged a symbiotic detente with them.

When you process a lot of data, usually if there is a pattern, it becomes obvious. The frequently heard trope of unions is that they protect Californians from predatory corporations and rich “dark money”. But the reality is different. The perpetual flow of union money from public employee paychecks is not a perpetual flow from an opposing source.

Candidates who want to challenge the unions’ political agenda must raise their money one donation at a time. It must be done voluntarily, once, then in the next cycle they start from scratch. They have to convince big donors over and over again that they can win, that the donor will not be alone and will not be targeted, and that they will in fact be able to do anything, anyway, in a legislature dominated by union-controlled politicians.

When it comes to being elected to the California State Legislature, with rare exceptions, if you have union support, you win, and if you don’t, you lose. .

This article originally appeared in period time.


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