Correa Spat Over Ethnic Endorsements Obscures a Bigger Problem: Many Nasty Contributors

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correa-brings-home-the-bacon

“Dirty money? Why, I’m SOAKING in it!”

Unhappy comments have appeared on Facebook over the past day, some regretting and some defending various Democratic officials’ endorsements by Lou Correa.  By far most of the endorsers in question are Latino, which of course adds zest to the mix.  Comments from endorsers and their defenders have focused on their right to vote for whomever they want — a right that, so far as I can tell, no one questions.

The real question is whether one a public official should expect to get to endorse someone without expecting blowback — or, for those who hate jargon, “negative consequences.”  And the answer to that is: “of course not.”  If you take a public stand, especially one that many viewing it will see as counterintuitive, it’s going to raise a ruckus.  (That’s why the campaign, I presume, talked you into doing it!)  In this case, many of the public officials are liberal Latinos — again, that’s why they seem to have experienced a full court press to support Correa, to buttress him on the left — and that means that they should expect even more pushback from people who are trying to make the case that Correa simply does not deserve liberal support.

(Note: I use the word “liberal” here to avoid the by-now-debased word “progressive.” In Orange County the word has taken on a meaning like “mildly libertarian, with a strong emphasis on social and cultural issues, who may have a blind spot when it comes to economic issues” — which is one reason why so much of the rest of the country likes to laugh at us.  If you’re a public figure who claims to be  “progressive” but shuns the term “liberal,” you should be prepared to explain what the difference is.  It often seems intended to mean that you can be “pro-business” — meaning pro-subsidy, anti-taxation, and anti-regulation — so long as you favor LGBT, women’s, and drug legalization issues.  Or at least you do if the drugs are controlled by a state-sanctioned cartel.)

Let’s be real: politicians and leading public figures in specific ethnic groups, especially ones that are targets for discrimination and bigotry, are often going to feel the need to give into pressure to support “one on their own” — and it’s the sort of thing on which vendidos like Lou Correa depend.  The pressure for conformity among people in Orange County has been enormous this year — and, while I’m disappointed that some people who I think should know better have knuckled under to Lou, I don’t condemn them for it.  But I want to suggest some road rules:

These Lou supporters fall into two categories: (1) those who can give compelling arguments (rather than vague ones that fuzz or distract from the issues at hand), and (2) those who can’t or won’t, and who get vague — and touchy — when asked their reasons.  It’s perfectly reasonable to ask people for their explanations — and if those explanations are “because I will support any Latino over any non-Latino” or “because I love big business” or “because poor people make me uncomfortable,” then fine.  Thank you for the explanation, you qualify for category (1), and now we know more about you.

And if you’re being vague or disingenuous or proclaiming your right to do whatever you want — that’s fine too!  We just know that voters should pretty much ignore your endorsement, because either you don’t know why you’re really doing it or you won’t say why — because you’re either nowhere nearly as liberal as supposed or you’re giving into political pressure, which, by the way, smart politicians often do.  (Although they may later pay a political price.  Try to be a grown-up about that — this is one of those races that people will remember for a long time.)

Now I do have a question for people who endorse Correa.  Here is a list of the major outside contributors to Lou Correa’s campaign.  (Some other blogger can do the same for supporters of some of the other leading candidates — Joe Dunn’s, Bao Nguyen’s, and Lynn Schott’s.)

Can you tell me whether being on the same side as any of these big contributors bothers you — and, if so, how you reconcile it with your endorsement?  My comments will continue after this table, taken from fec.gov, supplemented by the Center for Responsive Politics’s opensecrets.org site.)

ADVANCE AMERICA CASH ADVANCE CENTERS INC., PAC SPARTANBURG SC 29306 06/10/2015 $1,000
AEGON USA/TRANSAMERICA CORP. PAC WASHINGTON DC 20005 02/02/2016 $1,000
ALAN LOWENTHAL FOR CONGRESS ENCINO CA 91436 12/30/2015 $2,700
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY PAC (ALLPAC) NORTHBROOK IL 60062 12/31/2015 $1,000
AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION PAC WASHINGTON DC 20005 04/25/2016 $1,000
ANHEUSER-BUSCH PAC ST. LOUIS MO 63118 05/17/2016 $1,500
AT&T INC. FEDERAL PAC DALLAS TX 75202 03/07/2016 $1,000
AT&T INC. FEDERAL PAC DALLAS TX 75202 09/25/2015 $1,000
BLUE DOG PAC GAITHERSBURG MD 20883 03/21/2016 $2,500
BOARDER HEALTH FEDERAL PAC MCALLEN TX 78504 09/26/2015 $5,000
BOARDER HEALTH FEDERAL PAC MCALLEN TX 78504 09/26/2015 $5,000
CA INDEPENDENT PETROLEUM ASSOC. PAC IRVINE CA 92618 03/18/2016 $2,500
CHEVRON EMPLOYEES PAC SAN RAMON CA 94583 11/23/2015 $2,500
COMMITTEE FOR HISPANIC CAUSES B.O.L.D. WASHINGTON DC 20024 10/26/2015 $5,000
COMMITTEE FOR HISPANIC CAUSES BUILDING OUR LEADERSHIP DIVERSITY WASHINGTON DC 20024 06/29/2015 $5,000
COMMITTEE FOR HISPANIC CAUSES BUILDING OUR LEADERSHIP DIVERSITY WASHINGTON DC 20024 06/29/2015 $5,000
COMMONWEALTH PAC EARMARKED THROUGH NEW DEMOCRATIC COALITION PAC MERRIFIELD VA 22116 04/18/2016 $1,000
CULAC PAC WSHINGTON DC 20004 12/11/2015 $5,000
DAVITA HEALTHCARE PARTNERS, INC. PAC FEDERAL WAY WA 98001 03/18/2016 $1,000
DEFENSE ECONOMIC RENEWAL EDUCATION SEATTLE WA 98104 03/28/2016 $1,000
DEMOCRATS RESHAPING AMERICA (DREAM PAC) WASHINGTON DC 20003 06/29/2015 $1,000
DEMOCRATS RESHAPING AMERICA (DREAM PAC) WASHINGTON DC 20003 09/30/2015 $1,700
DEMOCRATS RESHAPING AMERICA (DREAM PAC) WASHINGTON DC 20003 09/30/2015 $300
DIRECTV GROUP, INC. FUND (DIRECTV PAC) WASHINGTON DC 20004 07/28/2015 $2,000
DOING RIGHT – RESULTS ACTION UNITY LEADERSHIP PAC PALM DESERT CA 92261 12/31/2015 $1,000
EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES PAC IRVINE CA 92614 03/18/2016 $2,000
FARMERS INSURANCE PAC IN-KIND:MEET & GREET EVENT: FOOD & BEVERAGE SAN RAFAEL CA 94901 10/22/2015 $122
FARMERS INSURANCE PAC SAN RAFAEL CA 94901 09/30/2015 $2,000
FUELCELL ENERGY PAC DANBURY CT 06801 02/08/2016 $1,000
GERDAU PAC TAMPA FL 33607 12/07/2015 $1,000
GREENBERG TRAURIG, P.A. PAC ALBANY NY 12207 12/28/2015 $1,000
IBEW PAC VOLUNTARY FUND WASHINGTON DC 20001 11/23/2015 $5,000
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS WASHINGTON DC 20006 05/17/2016 $5,000
INTERNATIONAL GAME TECHNOLOGY PAC PROVIDENCE RI 02903 12/11/2015 $1,000
INTERNATIONAL PAPER PAC WASHINGTON DC 20004 03/28/2016 $1,500
INTERNATIONAL PAPER PAC WASHINGTON DC 20004 12/23/2015 $1,000
J.O.E. PAC WASHINGTON DC 20005 12/28/2015 $1,500
JOBS AND INNOVATION MATTER PAC EARMARKED THROUGH NEW DEMOCRATIC COALITION PAC WASHINGTON DC 20003 04/18/2016 $500
JOBS OPPORTUNITIES & EDUCATION PAC EARMARKED THROUGH NEW DEMOCRATIC COALITION PAC WASHINGTON CO 20005 04/18/2016 $1,000
JUDY CHU FOR CONGRESS ENCINO CA 91436 03/18/2016 $1,000
L.I.E.U. LEADERSHIP PAC EARMARKED THROUGH ACT BLUE TECHNICAL SERVICES TORRANCE CA 90505 12/17/2015 $1,000
LEADERSHIP FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW WASHINGTON DC 20005 03/29/2016 $1,000
LEADERSHIP FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW WASHINGTON DC 20005 12/11/2015 $1,000
LEADERSHIP FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW WASHINGTON DC 20005 12/23/2015 $1,000
LEADERSHIP FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW WASHINGTON DC 20005 09/30/2015 $2,000
MUFG AMERICAS HOLDINGS CORP. PAC SAN FRANCISCO CA 94104 03/28/2016 $1,000
NATIONAL APARTMENT ASSOCIATION PAC ARLINGTON VA 22203 12/31/2015 $1,000
NATIONAL AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION PAC WASHINGTON CA 20003 05/02/2016 $5,000
NATSO PAC ALEXANDRIA VA 22314 12/23/2015 $1,000
NEW DEMOCRATIC COALITION PAC WASHINGTON DC 20005 03/29/2016 $5,000
NEW DEMOCRATIC COALITION PAC TOTAL EARMARKED THROUGH CONDUIT: $2500.00 CONDUIT LIMITS NOT AFFECTED. WASHINGTON DC 20005 04/18/2016 $1,000 X
NEW DEMOCRATIC COALITION PAC TOTAL EARMARKED THROUGH CONDUIT: $2500.00 CONDUIT LIMITS NOT AFFECTED. WASHINGTON DC 20005 04/18/2016 $1,000 X
NEW DEMOCRATIC COALITION PAC TOTAL EARMARKED THROUGH CONDUIT: $2500.00 CONDUIT LIMITS NOT AFFECTED. WASHINGTON DC 20005 04/18/2016 $500 X
PACIFIC LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY PAC NEWPORT BEACH CA 92660 11/07/2015 $500
PACIFIC LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY PAC NEWPORT BEACH CA 92660 11/23/2015 $500
PACIFIC LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY PAC NEWPORT BEACH CA 92660 12/23/2015 $1,000
PACIFIC LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY PAC NEWPORT BEACH CA 92660 06/22/2015 $1,000
POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE OF THE AAOS WASHINGTON DC 20002 08/24/2015 $1,000
PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS PAC WASHINGTON DC 20005 12/30/2015 $2,500
REALTORS PAC CHICAGO IL 60611 06/29/2015 $5,000
REPUBLIC SERVICES, INC. EMPLOYEES BETTER GOVERNMENT PAC PHOENIX AZ 85054 03/31/2016 $1,000
SMAC PAC CHANTILLY VA 20153 12/11/2015 $1,500
SMAC PAC CHANTILLY VA 20153 06/05/2015 $2,000
TESORO PAC SAN ANTONIO TX 78259 12/31/2015 $1,500
THE DOCTORS COMPANY FEDERAL PAC (DOCPAC) NAPA CA 94558 03/01/2016 $1,000
THE DOCTORS COMPANY FEDERAL PAC (DOCPAC) NAPA CA 94558 09/26/2015 $1,000
THREE RIVERS PAC PORTLAND OR 97242 03/28/2016 $1,000
TOYOTA MOTOR NORTH AMERICA, INC. PAC WASHINGTON DC 20005 12/11/2015 $1,000
VAQUERO PAC BROWNSVILLE TX 78520 12/31/2015 $2,700
VARGAS FOR CONGRESS ENCINITAS CA 92024 06/26/2015 $1,000
VIBE PAC PROVIDENCE RI 02903 12/30/2015 $1,000
VIBE PAC PROVIDENCE RI 02903 09/30/2015 $1,000
  • Are you OK with Payday Lenders that prey on the poorest among us?  Lou happily used their money for all of those glossy mailers!
  • Are you fine with all of those donations from Insurance Companies and Healthcare Providers opposed to single-payer or a public option and to cheaper prescription drugs?
  • Are you happy with all of those donations from Oil and Gas and Telecommunications/Cable companies?  They know what they think they’re getting out of Lou — do you?
  • Is it the Massive Polluters like International Paper — for whom Lou went to bat as a Senator — that attract you to him more, or is it the Realtors and Landlords?
  • Is it the Anti-Progressive/Liberal Democratic Groups — Blue Dog PAC (remember, Loretta once said that she was part of it only as a spy!), Committee for Hispanic Causes, Democrats Reshaping America, JOBS PAC, Leadership for Today and Tomorrow, the New Democratic Coalition, and the nicely but misleadingly named Vaquero PAC (which collects and distributes money mostly from medical/hospital/nursing-home, banking/financial, and agricultural interests, plus the Blue Dogs once again, of course) and VIBE PAC (which funnels money to Lou from casino, real estate, accountants, major health corporations) — that rev your engines?

Is Lou doing well in the primary polls right now?  Well that’s because these sorts of donors are paying for those mailers!  (And that’s only the ones who are contributing directly to his campaign; we’ll cover independent expenditures in a later post!)

I know some of the people on that list of “progressive” endorsers of Lou.  Most of them are good people whom I suspect have buckled under to pressure — which is funny, given that they are complaining about “bullying” — and I don’t judge them too harshly for it, although I hope that they realize that they will inevitably face future consequences for their alliances.  And if any of them want to argue for Lou on the merits based on the above list of contributors, we’ll donate space for them — though they should expect that their arguments may be rebutted in comments and later posts.

But, again, let’s be real: Lou Correa success in churning out those glossy mailers is a direct result of his being the kind of candidate that Bernie Sanders slams — and that even Hillary Clinton pretends to slam.  He’s not “progressive” unless “progressive” means nothing — which is exactly what his big backers want it to mean.

If that doesn’t represent your view of the political world, you might want to say so — loudly and soon.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)