Historic First — No Legislative Fundraisers Scheduled in April
Not since the Legislature went full-time in 1966 has there been an April without a single fund-raiser scheduled by any of California’s 120 state lawmakers.
And that’s pretty much what anybody is who drops $3,900 for weenies and a cocktail.
Actually, spring break makes April a relatively light fundraising month with somewhere around 30 scheduled so far, a handful of which are for statewide office holders or candidates.
Assistant Leader of the Senate Republican Caucus Tony Strickland warns in boldface underlined type that $3,900 per person is the maximum amount an individual can contribute to attend an April 4 dinner at the home of Dee and Andy Puzder featuring the spell-binding, darn-near-kinetic wit and wisdom of Congressman Kevin McCarthy as guest speaker.
However, while $3,900 might be the maximum, the invitation helpfully notes “corporate and individual contributions are legally permissible.”
Phew. Was worried for a second.
GOP Assemblyman Anthony Adams is having a self-described “lavish cocktail reception” featuring Governor Arnold Schwarzengger at “Vista Manor,” the home of Michael and Sandy Valentine-Mathews in Glendora.
Guests will “enjoy an elegant evening overlooking the spectacular San Gabriel Valley,” the invitation informs. Second prize: Two evenings overlooking the spectacular San Gabriel Valley.
The $3,900 maximum – “Platinum V.I.P.” earns entry for four, a photo with the governor and attendance at a “V.I.P. reception.” However, the Gold and Silver V.I.P — $1,600 and $500 respectively – also reward purchasers with a spot at a V.I.P. reception so perhaps V.I.P. is merely being used as a synonym for “lavish.”
Democrat John Chiang, California’s controller, has the good sense not to schedule his breakfast fundraiser on April 15 when most Californians find all their elected statewide and federal officials even more contemptible than usual.
Chiang’s event is April 14. A “sponsor” writes a $6,500 check — statewide officeholders have a higher maximum than legislators – a “benefactor” throws in $3,500 and just a plain run-of-the-mill ticket goes for $1,500.
Ben Hueso, a Democrat who wants to be elected in the 79th Assembly District, is not as bright as Chiang. The suggested contribution for Hueso’s April 15 cocktail reception is $1,000 although someone can worm their way in for $500. Lots of other Democrats from down San Diego way think the world of Hueso, the invitation shows.
Happy birthday Anna Caballero. There’s a star over the “e” in her name, which is flanked by four festive balloons. The event is Saturday, April 18 at the Assemblywoman’s home in Salinas. Fund-raising events in legislative districts are always cheaper. One ticket to Caballero’s birthday is $99, four are $500, six are $1,000 and eight are $3,900.
Wouldn’t someone just buy six individual $99 tickets and save $406?
Freshman Assemblyman Steve Knight, a Republican, moved his lunch fundraiser from March 31 to April 22. Tickets go for $1,000, $1,900 and, naturally, $3,900. The invitation doesn’t say what one gets depending on the level of contribution but perhaps the Assemblyman’s fundraisers at AimPoint, Inc. can elucidate.
Another April birthday belongs to Assemblyman Ted Mendoza. There are no festive balloons on his invitation but there are two birthday cakes and one of those funky cone-shaped party hats.
Mendoza, a Democrat, might be another year older but he’s partying like its 1999. One birthday fundraiser isn’t enough to get his rocks off: He’s having two. One is at the Norwalk Sports Complex on Thursday April 23 — here’s where the cake motif fits in – a “Birthday Cake Sponsor” must kick down $3,900. Mendoza promises “food, friends, entertainment” at the event.
He might be moving a little slow since the night before is an intimate dinner – “space is limited,” the invitation warns – at the Grange inside downtown Sacramento’s newest hotel, The Citizen.Intimacy is cheap – just $2,000-a-head.
Mendoza, ever conscientious, includes with the invitation a note with contact information for his new fundraiser.
The staff at The Citizen are going be birthday experts by Friday April 24. Democratic Assemblywoman Norma Torres has her birthday lunch on the Metropolitan Terrace of the hotel April 23. If the invitation is any indicator hers will be the most fun since there’s balloons, cake, party hats and noise-makers on it.
Torres may not have gotten the $3,900 memo. She’s only asking for $3,600, the last election cycle’s ceiling. For that amount someone is BFF. A $2,500 contribution is BF and $1,000 makes someone just a friend.
While there is no Rosetta Stone on the invitation to conclusively prove it, presumptively BFF is “Big Freakin’ Friend” and $2,500 is “Bonus Friend.”
In a slap at the AARP set, the “Young Democrats” offer dinner with several of their members from the Assembly on April 29. Sky’s the limit on contributions, which the invitation notes in large italics, because the money goes to a political action committee called Californians for Jobs and Strong Economy.
In at least some scant recognition that several million Californians no longer have jobs and that the economy is the proverbial 90-pound weakling at the moment, two tickets are priced to move at only $5,000. Individual ones can be had for $3,000.
E.F. Hutton says: The efficacy of any investments of this sort at this time seems, at best, reckless.
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