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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Prop 32: Labor Unions Seek To Fund Measure's Defeat

Danny Lee |
October 8, 2012 | 3:44 p.m. PDT

Senior Staff Reporter

Prop 32's opponents have out-raised supporters by a 4-to-1 margin to defeat the measure. (Dawn Megli/Neon Tommy)
Prop 32's opponents have out-raised supporters by a 4-to-1 margin to defeat the measure. (Dawn Megli/Neon Tommy)
California voters' decision on Proposition 32 in November could shake up the political influence that labor unions have in Sacramento moving forward.

If passed on Nov. 6, Prop 32 would prevent unions and employers from taking money out of employees' paychecks for political contributions. While supporters of the measure insist that it would help weaken the power that corporate and union special interests have in elections, opponents have expressed their skepticism with huge sums of donations to combat the measure.

Overall, Prop 32's opponents have out-raised its supporters by almost a 4-to-1 margin, having accumulated about $38 million. The California Teachers Association has accounted for roughly 44 percent of money donated to defeat the ballot measure, turning in $16.45 million.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), California Professional Firefighters and the California Faculty Association are among the other notable Prop 32 opponents.

Yes on 32 support, which has tallied around $9 million as of late September, has come from mainly wealthy individual donors such as Westco Financial Corp. CEO Charles Munger Jr. and Siebel Systems founder Thomas Siebel. But the largest source of finance has come from the American Future Fund, a conservative nonprofit organization with ties to the billionaire Koch brothers that funneled $4 million to support the prop.

Unions contend that the passage of Prop 32 would muffle their influence in Sacramento as they would have less money to fund their political lobbying and organizing.

From KPCC:

"Under Prop 32, a corporation CEO, its board members, its executives, all could still make contributions to candidates," said Grant Davis-Denny, board member of California Common Cause. "Prop 32 exempts a number of forms of businesses that you would traditionally think of as corporations. The notion that this would somehow reduce the influence in corporations in Sacramento, I think, is a sham."

California voters are still significantly on the fence with this proposition. A University of Southern California Dornsife survey found that 36 percent of likely voters supported Prop 32, while 44 percent opposed it. Twenty percent are still undecided.


Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage on the 2012 election here.

Reach Senior Staff Reporter Danny Lee here; follow him on Twitter here.



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