Latest Ballot Lie From California

This is the sort of thing you can get away with if you have unlimited corporate money and no conscience, per this L.A. Times report:

Two of California’s leading good-government groups joined with some of the state’s most powerful labor unions Monday to denounce Proposition 32, the November ballot measure that promises to eliminate special-interest money in politics.

At a morning news conference, representatives of the League of Women Voters of California and Common Cause urged voters to oppose the initiative, calling it a deceptive measure that would disproportionately harm unions and expand the influence of businesses.

“Prop. 32 is not what it seems, and it will hurt everyday Californians,” said Trudy Schafer of the League of Women Voters of California.

Although the initiative would ban corporations and labor unions from directly contributing to candidates, good-government advocates said the measure exempts limited liability companies, or LLCs, and business trusts. They also argue that another key provision — banning the practice of political contributions by payroll deduction — hobbles the primary method labor unions use to raise political cash.

The result, the groups said, would be the rise of more business-fueled super PACs, which are already playing an outsized role in elections this year.

So Prop. 32 is the latest in a long series of California ballot initiatives lavishly funded by “special interests” who claim to be cracking down on the lavish funding of politics by special interests. And it’s leading heavily in early polls, which means that progressive and goo-goo groups in California will spend a good part of their treasuries trying to educate voters on what it means, leaving other worthy election-year tasks undone. And that’s almost certainly what the initiative is all about in the first place.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.