The Blog at CTA

Take Action to Expose Secret Super PACs

Last November, you said NO to the secret Super PACs’ agenda and helped the Alliance for a Better California defeat the deceptive Proposition 32. We want to thank you for your support.

During the campaign, we learned that the group ‘Americans for Responsible Leadership’ was actually a front used to funnel $11 million into California from anonymous donors trying to gain more power for special interests.

But even after being exposed, the Super PACs still refuse to name their real donors.

The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) began investigating the dark money groups last year and has already forced them to admit to their deception. They are empowered to expose the special interests for who they really are and fine them for breaking California law.

Help us unmask the Super PAC Billionaires now. Sign our petition to urge the FPPC to fast-track their investigation.

Californians deserve a speedy resolution to this issue to reveal the truth and preserve the integrity of our election process. Sign our petition today and help us ensure that this never happens again.

P.S. To learn more about our fight against the Super PACs, please read this news story.

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Did Your Vote Matter? Just 334,000 Provided Electoral College Victory, RNC Head Asserts

Sometimes educators wonder if their votes make a difference. In California, those votes were a vital part of the winning margin in the passage of Proposition 30, the governor’s funding for schools measure, and the defeat of Proposition 32, the deceptive Special Exemptions Act.

Every vote matters, both in state politics and national elections.

A newly obtained briefing from the Republican National Committee to GOP US Senators drives the point home.  The briefing, posted online by MSNBC, asserts that only 333,908 votes in four states separated the re-election of Pres. Obama in the electoral college from a victory by challenger Gov. Mitt Romney.

Some analysts might argue that the assessment is an attempt to explain away the overwhelming margin of victory that National Education Association-recommended Pres. Obama won.  But either way, the key lesson: your vote matters.

Read the entire assessment at Republican National Chair's Report, courtesy of MSNBC.

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Clean Sweep: Voters Re-elect Pres. Obama, Pass Prop. 30, Defeat Prop. 32

State ballot proposition results posted on the California Secretary of State’s website show the significant margin of victory for educator-backed Prop 30 and the equally significant margin of defeat for educator-opposed Prop 32.

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Vote Today as If Your Future Depends Upon it: (P.S.: It Does!)

Voters’ decisions today in California’s elections will impact virtually every aspect of our lives. The passage of Proposition 30 will protect California’s K-12 public schools, the community colleges, and the state university systems from another $6 billion in devastating cuts….cuts that would come on top of slashes that have pared $20 billion from the education of our most important natural resource – our young people.

Voters’ defeating Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act that would boost the political power of Super PACS and other wealthy special interests at the expense of the rest of us, will stop this cynical attack on middle-class workers, including educators, firefighters, and nurses.

Your vote matters – and the polls are open from 7 AM to 8 PM.

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$11 Million in Masked Political Contributions Could Land Someone in Jail

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the state’s political watchdog agency, and Attorney General Kamala Harris are reportedly considering whether to file charges against a shadowy Arizona Super PAC that funneled $11 million into a California business political action committee in efforts to defeat Proposition 30, the governor’s revenue measure to aid schools, and boost Proposition 32, the cynical “political reform” measure that would exempt – among other entities – Super PACs from its strictures. The story is reported by Kevin Yamamura in a CapitolAlert posting.

Meanwhile, the attorney for the Arizona Super PAC -- Americans for Responsible Leadership and The Center to Protect Patient Rights – claims that the PAC’s “settlement” letter width the FPPC does not represent an admission of guilt in civil or criminal proceedings:

"While these letters relate to Cal. Gov. Code § 84302 and 2 CA ADC § 18432.5, we want to make it clear that they have been sent pursuant to a settlement agreement width the California Fair Political Practices Commission and that neither ARL nor CPPR admit any wrongdoing or that the letters are required by applicable law," Attorney Michael D. Bopp wrote. "Further, ARL and CPPR reserve the right to contest any further proceedings that relate to the contributions discussed in the aforementioned letters."

Read the entire post at California officials consider civil, criminal action in mystery donation case.

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Super PAC Admits Money-laundering in $11 Million Effort to Defeat Prop. 30, Pass Prop. 32

Under pressure from California’s political watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), an Arizona Political Action Committee has admitted that it took $11 million from another Super PAC, effectively “laundering” the money that it then contributed in an effort to defeat Proposition 30, the governor’s school revenue measure, and to pass Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act that would help wealthy special interests increase their political power.

According to the FPPC,  the Arizona-based Super PAC Americans for Responsible Leadership “today sent a letter declaring itself to be the intermediary and not the true source of the contribution.”

In a news release, the FPPC further said that the Arizona PAC “identified the true source of the contribution as Americans for Job Security, through a second intermediary, The Center to Protect Patient Rights. Under California law, the failure to disclose this initially was campaign money laundering. At $11 million, this is the largest contribution ever disclosed as campaign money laundering in California history.”

Ironically, Proposition 32 – one of the campaigns that benefited from the laundered $11 million contribution, bills that initiative as “campaign reform.”  But the measure would in fact exempt Super PACs from its regulations, making it even easier for organizations like the Arizona money-launderers to hide the sources of their funding and to increase their influence in the state capitol.

The other measure the laundered funds aimed to defeat, Proposition 30, would block $6 billion in devastating automatic or “trigger cuts” to schools and raise income taxes on the state’s wealthiest taxpayers.

The FPPC investigation was sparked by a call to action by California Common Cause, a non-partisan organization that, like the League of Women Voters, is opposed to Proposition 32 because it is “phony” reform aimed at helping wealthy special interests at the expense of middle class voters.

Read the full text of the FPPC news release 

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Prop. 30 "Best Option"; Prop. 32 "Reeks," LA Times Columnist Declares

Looking for sage advice on how to vote Tuesday on California’s ballot measures? One need look no further than Monday’s offering by LA Times Columnist George Skelton.  Skelton (pictured at left) is the award-winning journalist who’s been covering political shenanigans for decades from his perch in Sacramento.

Skelton has looked over each ballot measure closely and critically. Most importantly, he’s summed it all up quickly and succinctly, particularly Prop. 30, the governor’s revenue measure to aid public education, and Prop. 32, the cynical Special Exemptions Act aimed at silencing the voices of union members and other middle class voters while boosting the political power of wealthy special interests.

Writes Skelton about Proposition 30: “It isn't about "Sacramento politicians. It's about whether to cut $5.9 billion more out of public education, from kindergarten through the universities. A yes vote means no cuts. A no vote brings out the machete….The measure isn't perfect, but it's the best option for now.”

Opines Skelton about Proposition 32: “The measure is cynically billed as ‘The Stop Special Interest Money Now Act.’ It's actually about one crowd of interests on the right attempting to cripple a rival interest, labor, using $11 million in secret laundered money. It reeks.”

Read the entire column at Last Minute Advice on State Ballot Measures.


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Ballot Opportunities, Threats Unite Teachers, Other Working Women and Men

Photo above:  (from r.) Backed by California Labor Federation Leader Art Pulaski, Elementary Teacher Toby Boyd and SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker, CTA Pres. Dean Vogel thanks phone bank volunteers on Saturday at the Sacramento City Teachers Association for their efforts to pass Proposition 30, the governor’s revenue measure for schools, and to defeat Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act that would increase the political power of wealthy special interests.

Photo left: (from l.) CTA Pres. Vogel, SEIU President Walker, SCTA President Scott Smith, and California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer and Chief Officer Art Pulaski spearheaded the phone banking at Sacramento City Teachers Association Saturday morning.

During their remarks Saturday morning to volunteers at the Sacramento City Teachers Association.CTA Pres. Dean Vogel, SEIU Local President Yvonne Walker, and California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski cited a positive result of the challenges facing working women and men:   The opportunity to secure desperately needed new state revenues offered by Proposition 30 and the dire threat to working women and men posed by Proposition 30, the Special Exemptions Act, have solidified labor in California.

CTA President Vogel said that those who have attacked unions width ballot measures such as Proposition 32 won’t stop their efforts, and it would be “insane” for labor not to maintain the close ties that have been forged in this campaign.

SEIU President Walker noted that labor had not worked this closely together ever before.

The mood at the SCTA campaign headquarters was upbeat, just days before the election.

California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski put it this way: “You can’t defeat the heart and soul of the people who are fighting for justice.”


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School Supporters Take to Phones, Streets, Airwaves for Prop. 30, Against Prop. 32

Photo above: CTA President Deal Vogel (c.) joins more than 60 educators at the Sacramento City Teachers Association making phones calls to voters to secure the passage of Proposition 30, the only measure on the ballot to stop $6 billion in trigger cuts to schools, and to defeat Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act that will increase the political power of wealthy special interests.

Photo left: Educator Carlos Rico tells a reporter for Channel 19, the Spanish language station in the Sacramento media market, why passing Proposition 30 is so vital for schools, students, and their families.

Throughout California on the last weekend before Election Day, thousands of dedicated educators are making phone calls, walking precincts, and giving media interviews – all urging voters to approve Proposition 30 and defeat Proposition 32.

For public education and its nearly one million students, the passage of Proposition 30 is crucial.  It will stop $6 billion in automatic or “trigger” cuts from taking effect.  Additional cuts of that magnitude will hit schools hard, schools that have already been slammed by more than $20 billion in cuts.

For middle class voters and working women and men, the defeat of Proposition 32 will ensure that their voices will be heard in the state Capitol and not be drowned out by the unfettered political contributions of wealthy special interests.

Wealthy special interests are hard at work, trying to defeat Proposition 30 and pass Proposition 32.  To counter potentially illegal activities, the state’s political watchdog agency, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), has gone to court in hopes of forcing one out-of-state Super PAC to reveal the sources of the $11 million it has given for Prop. 30 and against Prop.  32.

Polls are open from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. on Tuesday, November 6.  Persons who have received vote-by-mail ballots are urged to consider dropping them off at polling places on Tuesday instead of putting them in the mail and risking that they do not arrive in time.

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As Deadline Nears, Educators Walk and Talk for Prop. 30, against Prop. 32

(Photo above:  From left, on Saturday morning, Educator Carlos Rico discusses the day’s precinct walking width volunteer Jan Arias outside the Sacramento City Teachers Association building in East Sacramento. Educators are working hard to secure voter approval of Proposition 30, the governor's revenue measure for schools, and voter rejection of Proposition 32, the deceptive measure that would give wealthy special interests more political power.) 

(Photo at left: CTA Staff Member Seth Bramble gives volunteers some tips about effective precinct-walking as they prepare to talk to hundreds of voters in the Sacramento area.)

Throughout California on the next-to-last weekend before Election Day, Nov. 6, thousands of educators, nurses, firefighters, college students, and school supporters are taking to the streets and the phone lines to contact voters in support of Proposition 30 and in opposition to Proposition 32.

For students, parents, and educators, Proposition 30 is a vital measure.  It is the only ballot measure that will prevent another $6 billion in automatic funding cuts to K-12 public schools, the community colleges, and the state’s university systems. Cuts of that magnitude, on top of more than $20 billion in cuts that have rocked public education and harmed students, could shutter Sacramento schools 10 days early this year. Parents and teachers know that students can’t afford to lose the learning time.

For middle-class families, defeating Proposition 32, the deceptive “Special Exemptions Act,” is just as important.

Proposition 32 would increase the power of wealthy special interests to influence state politicians.  The measure would make it harder for educators and others to secure desperately needed funding from state lawmakers and the governor.

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Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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