California Common Cause Identifies Top 20 Fundraising Campaigns

Media Contact:

October 25, 2011

Phillip Ung (760) 793-0853



California Common Cause highlights campaign contributions for first half of 2011 as part of Capitol Nightmare public awareness campaign

Sacramento, CA – Using publicly available data, California Common Cause identified the top 20 incumbents leading the pack in campaign fundraising. The results showing officials are not wasting any time in raising money for elections that in most cases will not occur for years. Only 8 of the top 20 are raising campaign funds for elections in 2011 or 2012.

“This report shows the sheer volume and influence moneyed interests have over our elected officials,” said Derek Cressman, Western Regional Director for Common Cause, “Voters that see this report should ask ‘what are special interests gaining from their money and ‘what are voters losing at the expense of this influence.'”

Furthermore, Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) may have been leading the race by far in fundraising and spent almost all of the $2,107,907 but he is the exception, not the rule. While incumbents aren’t wasting any time depositing campaign checks, they are in no rush to spend it either. Senator Edward Hernandez (D-West Covina) raised $253,556 giving him a campaign war chest of $861,201. Similarly, Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg’s raised $350,169 to total $1,026,167 million for his 2018 campaign for Lieutenant Governor. Other notable fact, most legislators in the Top 20 are either in political party leadership or Chairpersons of powerful legislative committees.

Others may be far down on the list in collecting contributions but have nonetheless topped the list of those having cash in the bank. Governor Jerry Brown has only raised $45,206 but has $5,186,169 in available funds from his gubernatorial race in 2010. While State Treasurer Bill Lockyer has not reported any contributions between January and June, he has $2,664,409 on hand. Full Top 20 results can be viewed below, supplemental information attached.

1. Ted Lieu SENATE $2,107,907.18

2. John Perez ASSEMBLY $658,078.82

3. Nathan Fletcher ASSEMBLY $502,292.26

4. Alex Padilla SENATE $440,361.97

5. Connie Conway ASSEMBLY $394,969.27

6. Tony Strickland SENATE $361,866.52

7. Darrell Steinberg SENATE $350,168.62

8. Fiona Ma ASSEMBLY $348,693.71

9. Juan Vargas SENATE $334,590.21

10. Betty Yee BOE $320,604.00

11. Gavin Newsom EXEC $316,101.70

12. Beth Gaines ASSEMBLY $309,752.77

13. Tom Torkalson ASSEMBLY $275,273.25

14. Richard Pan ASSEMBLY $262,243.81

15. Edward Hernandez SENATE $253,556.04

16. Diane Harkey ASSEMBLY $253,153.00

17. George Runner BOE $252,997.00

18. Isadore Hall ASSEMBLY $251,816.07

19. Leland Yee SENATE $248,809.89

20. Kevin Jefferies ASSEMBLY $241,887.99

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an interview with Kathay Feng, please contact Phillip Ung, or (760)793-0853.

California Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring an open, honest, and accountable government, also working to strengthen public participation and ensuring that political processes serve the public interest, rather than the special interests.