Consultants, other businesses pull in California campaign cash

08/15/2014 12:25 PM

08/16/2014 3:21 PM

With the fall campaign season fast approaching, candidates and ballot measure campaigns will raise money as fast as they can spend it in the coming weeks.

State records show that they’ve spent a lot already. From Jan. 1, 2013 through June 30, California-based campaign committees reported about $285 million in spending on TV ads, fundraising events, campaign consultants and other costs in ballot measure contest and in races for statewide office and the Legislature. And that doesn’t include some $172 million in contributions to other campaign committees.

So who’s getting the money? Based on numbers reported to the state, the list below shows the top-100 recipients of money from campaign committees during the first 18 months of the election cycle.

A few important caveats: The list excludes the money campaign committees received from other committees. And the numbers are gross, not net, and so don’t reflect the businesses’ pass-through payments to TV stations, signature gatherers, mail shops and other subvendors. Similarly, the numbers don’t reflect what the businesses may have earned as subvendors themselves.

Arno Petition Consultants Inc. grossed almost $10 million. The Carlsbad-based firm oversaw signature-gathering efforts to qualify three state ballot measures: a referendum on a Central Valley tribal casino deal (Prop. 48 on the Nov. 4 ballot); a ballot measure to lock in a hospital revenue stream (qualified for the November 2016 ballot); and a ballot measure pushed by venture capitalist Tim Draper to divide California into six states (awaiting signature verification).

No. 9 on the list is Unger Construction Co. Scott Maxwell, an Unger Construction principal, said Friday that the payments reflected the company’s construction work on the California Democratic Party’s recently opened headquarters.

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