Study finds ittle support for lawmakers from individual Californians
June 2, 2010
• Business groups flood Sacramento with money
• ‘Even well-intentioned legislators must grovel’
California’s lawmakers are getting the bulk of their financial support from businesses and business groups, not their constituents, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan MAPLight.org, a Berkeley-based group that studies the relationship between money and lawmaking.
Businesses and their trade associations paid for 40 percent of California legislators' campaigns over the last three years, providing more money than private citizens (17 percent) and labor unions (16 percent) combined.
The study examined campaign contributions to members of the state Senate and Assembly. Political parties funded 12 percent of campaigns, with most of these funds directed towards a small handful of legislators.
Advocacy groups -- such as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California League of Conservation Voters -- gave a tiny amount, less than 1 percent of all funds.
"Businesses investing in political influence receive a high return on their investment," says Daniel Newman, MAPLight.org executive director. "Even well-intentioned legislators must grovel before interest-group donors to raise campaign cash. The problem is not with a few bad apples, but with a rotten barrel."