James V. Lacy

CTA outspends Cal Chamber on state politics nearly 6 to 1 in last 12 1/2 years

When Dan Schnur was Chairman of the Fair Political Practices Commission, he did something really good by way of public disclosure.  He had the staff add up all the political spending for candidate, measure and party contributions and lobbying attributable to organizations, and he came up with a “top ten” list in a brochure entitled “Big Money Talks.”  The period covered January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2009.  Eyebrows were raised when the figures were revealed and it was learned that the California Teachers Association was the biggest lobby in the state during the period, spending $211,849,298 on politics.

I’ve just updated the figures with the able assistance of my associate Alex Tomescu, based on the same methodology, for use in a book I am writing, and I can report here that CTA’s lead as the biggest special interest in California has only grown larger in the last two and 1/2 years.  In fact, since 2000, CTA has spent almost six times more than the California Chamber of Commerce on state politics; more than three times big tobacco or Chevron Oil Corporation, and more than twice the second biggest special interest in the state, the Service Employees International Union.

What amazes here is how the liberal Democrats and their media allies rail against California’s “special interests.”  The fact is California’s biggest special interests are the liberal Democrats biggest supporters, the CTA and the SEIU, whose relentless spending dwarf every other interest, including Indian tribes.

Here are the calculations:


Total Money Spent by Top 18 California Special Interest Groups: Campaign Spending and Lobbying Spending (January 1, 2000 – June 30, 2013)




Special Interest Group

Total $ Spent

California Teachers Association


California State Council of Service Employees


Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association


Chevron Corporation


Philip Morris USA


Morongo Band of Mission Indians


Pacific Gas and Electric Company


Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians


AT&T Inc.


California Association of Realtors


California Hospital Association


Western States Petroleum Association


California Chamber of Commerce


Southern California Edison


Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians


California Correctionals Peace Officers Association


California School Employees Association


Aera Energy LLC