CalWatchdog Morning Read – September 21

  • CalWatchdogLogoOpen-government groups fighting with political ethics watchdog
  • Most state lawmakers draw per diem even when not at work
  • Senate candidate Kamala Harris wants free college for the working poor
  • CalPERS forecaster wants larger contributions from state, local governments 
  • LGBT group pulls six endorsements over vote on religious universities

Good morning. Happy hump day. We start with an interesting read from the Los Angeles Times about good government groups fighting with the FPPC.

“A rare and heated dispute has erupted between California’s campaign finance regulators and open-government groups that have accused the watchdog agency of pressuring them to rescind their support for legislation designed to show who is funding political ads.

“Supporters of the bill criticized the state Fair Political Practices Commission for heavy-handed tactics that they said included pushing groups the commission has the power to investigate and fine to drop their support for the transparency bill.

“‘It’s really inappropriate for a regulator who has enormous power over organizations to call up those organizations over which they have power, and lobby them,’ said Trent Lange, president of California Clean Money Campaign. ‘It’s just inherently intimidating to have your regulator call you and ask you to do something.’

“Michele Sutter, co-founder of the group Money Out Voters In, called it ‘shocking behavior by the FPPC.'”

The Los Angeles Times has more.

In other news:

  • “In addition to their six-figure salaries and benefits, California’s 120 lawmakers are compensated for their cost of living and meals when they leave home and travel to Sacramento to write and pass bills. Unlike in many other states, however, California lawmakers have over time crafted loosely worded rules for themselves that allow them to collect those payments regardless of whether they even show up to work,” reports AP/The San Jose Mercury News

  • “Kamala Harris, in the final weeks of her U.S. Senate campaign against fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez, released a higher education plan Tuesday calling for making public colleges and universities free for students whose families earn less than $140,000 a year. She also wants to allow borrowers to discharge student loans in bankruptcy.” The Sacramento Bee has more. 

  • “The retiring forecaster for California’s largest public employee pension fund offered some final advice on Tuesday: State and local governments should be required to pay more into the system as soon as next year.” The Los Angeles Times has more.

  • “A prominent group advocating for LGBT rights has withdrawn its endorsement of six state Assembly members because they abstained or voted against a bill aimed at protecting gay and transgender students from discrimination at private colleges,” reports the Los Angeles Times.



  • Gone ’til December. 

Gov. Brown:

  • No public events announced.

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