Monday, October 31, 2005

Billionaires, Congressional Democrats Protect California Gerrymander

Is your favorite Congressional Rep. protecting the California gerrymander? Check below for the answer.

More than thirty congressional Democrats and Democratic congressional candidates have contributed at least $145,000 to the efforts to defeat Proposition 77, an initiative which would transfer the job of drawing California's legislative and congressional districts from the state legislature to an independent panel of retired judges. This is in addition to $50,000 from PACs controlled by Representatives Matsui and Miller, and $5,000 from another PAC controlled by Congressional Democrats.

On top of this $200,000, Representative Howard Berman (CA-28) joined forces with Rep. John Doolittle in successfully petitioning the Federal Elections Commission to open the floodgates to unlimited donations to ballot committees controlled by federal officeholders. The FEC's advisory opinion has enabled members of Congress to raise unlimited funds (soft money) to oppose Prop 77, including $4.25 million Congressional Dems were able to pry out of the hands of Hollywood mogul Steven Bing.

In addition to the millions contributed by Bing (a former member of the Forbes 400 richest Americans list), Dems have raised $265,000 from Forbes 400 members Haim Saban, Peter Sperling, Alan Casden, Lester Crown, and S. Daniel Abraham. The Dems are shaking some pretty well-laden trees for campaign cash in their efforts to defeat Prop 77.

Prop 77 merits the attention of these illustrious bankrolls and the politicians they support because it would put an end to the system which created such safe and cozy districts for them and push these pols out into the cold hard light of electoral politics. The state legislature, currently in charge of drawing districts, outsourced the job of drawing districts in 2001 to a guy named Michael Berman . . . Representative Howard Berman's brother. At the time, Congressional Dems paid Mike Berman $20,000 a piece so that he would draw them safe seats. Republicans signed on to the plan, knowing that the safer the Dem seats got, the safer their seats would get too.

The plan worked flawlessly, producing a perfect record in 2004 - not one Congressional seat switched parties in California. 53 for 53.

Below is a list of the members of Congress that have contributed to the effort to defend a rigged process to protect politicians, leaving the rest of us hung out to dry.

Bud Cramer
Marion Berry
Mike Ross
Ed Pastor
Mike Honda
Zoe Lofgren
Sam Farr
Dennis Cardoza
Lois Capps
Hilda Solis
Diane Watson
Nancy Pelosi
Barabara Boxer
John Larson
Jan Schakowsky
Ben Chandler
John Tierney
Bart Stupak
Martin Olav Sabo
William Clay Jr.
Thomas Gallagher
(NV-3: lost 2004 election)
Jerry Nadler
Darlene Hooley
John Murtha
Lincoln Davis
Ruben Hinojosa
Silvestre Reyes
Gene Green
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Jay Inslee
Dave Obey

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