Supporting Toni Atkins and Who Else?

Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, a San Diego Democrat, is holding a $1,000-per-head cocktail fundraiser January 16 at a Sacramento Irish pub near the Capitol. 

Atkins generously notes on the invitation below that under the terms of Proposition 35, approved by voters in 2000, “an individual, union, (Political Action Committee) and other entities may contribute a maximum of $4,100 to (her) committee per election, primary and general.  A registered Small Contributor Committee may contribute a maximum of $8,200 per election.”

When passed, the proposition restricted those contributions to $3,000 and $6,000, respectively. But it also included a provision that in January of every odd-numbered year those limits would be revised based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.


Ostensibly, Atkins’ event is to aid her reelection bid in 2014.

But if her campaign spending history and her current “leadership” role in the lower house are any indicator, the majority of the money she receives will be spent on other legislative races.


First, she doesn’t need the cash. She was reelected in 2012 in her heavily Democratic district with 63 percent of the vote. 

That easy win came despite transferring $231,100 of the more than $477,000 she raised last year to the California Democratic Party, Democratic Central Committee of San Diego and the California Vote Project 2012, whose goal was to increase Democratic turnout statewide. 

In addition, Atkins gave $49,000 of her campaign funds to Democratic legislative incumbents or first-time candidates.
Doing the math, nearly 60 cents of each $1 contributed to her reelection campaign in 2012 was spent electing Democrats other than her, according to campaign reports filed with the Secretary of State.  
After her election success, Atkins was named Assembly Majority Leader. The political part of that job is to ensure the campaign coffers of legislative Democrats stay as full as possible. If relected in 2014, which seems likely, Atkins must leave the Assembly  in 2016 because of term limits.  
All of which suggests that in 2014 the percentage of funds contributed to her that end up being spent elsewhere will be higher.

Filed under: Fundraising


  1. Good to see the pay-to-play mentality is alive and well in the Capitol.

    Comment by Clay J. — 1.03.2013 @ 10:48 am

  2. Gee, Clay, all you have to do is look at folks like the Chamber of Commerce or the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association to see that pay-to-play is alive and well.

    And perhaps you didn’t notice last year when the secret Arizona SuperPAC contributed more than $11 million to Republican causes while refusing to name their donors. That stinks too, doesn’t it?

    Comment by Steve Mehlman — 1.03.2013 @ 12:02 pm

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