Senator Lowenthal Counters U.S. Chamber Attack

"They're trying to buy the election," Lowenthal says of the 47th Congressional District race between he and Councilman Gary DeLong, a Republican endorsed by the Chamber.

State Senator Alan Lowenthal charged Wednesday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is trying to buy the 47th Congressional District race for Rebublican candidate Gary DeLong, already spending $319,000 in one week on a Southern California TV attack ad.

DeLong, a Long Beach City Councilman representing about 55,000 residents of the Eastside's Third District, has been endorsed by conservative House leaders such as John Bohner and Paul Ryan in a race both parties are investing in to gain the majority.

The National Democratic Committee has announced it is investing resources in Lowenthal's bid for the U.S. House of Representatives seat--newly created and straddling the Long Beach-Orange County line.

In recent days, an attack ad was broadcast featuring a grim-faced Lowenthal and claimed his bills "have been called job killers." DeLong is not promoted in the ad, but it is one of several funded by the Chamber, whose membership includes some of the largest corporations in the U.S. and which are not disclosed.

"They're trying to buy this election, let's be clear," Lowenthal said at a morning press gathering he called at Lola's Mexican Cuisine to counter the TV ad's charges. Flanked by the restaurant's owner, Luis Navarro, and President of the California Small Business Association, Betty Jo Toccoli, Lowenthal decried the money from elsewhere in the country allegedly flooding the local campaign.

Toccoli praised Lowenthal for staying in contact even in the face of a position the group doesn't support. The Small business group claims 200,000 small business members and Toccoli said it is bipartisan, but fully supports Lowenthal.

"Let's go for the guy who can get the job done," Toccoli told the restaurant dining room of reporters. "And this guy can get the job done in Congress."

DeLong campaign communications director Noel Fritsch attended Lowenthal's press gathering and handed out a list of questions about the group, questioning its membership size and degree of difficulty to join. Asked about the DeLong campaign's charge that Lowenthal is anti-business in the face of the small business owners association in-person endorsement, and the national money in a local campaign, Fritsch said he would simply point back "to the Chamber's endorsement."

Lowenthal defended himself as pro-business, a model of public-private sector partnerships such as the longtime effort to clean up pollution caused by the Long Beach-L.A. shipping basin while supporting its expansion thus job growth.

And he read a letter from Maersk, the largest shipping company in the ports complex, which is the country's busiest.

The statement by Doug Morgante, National Director of State Government Relations for Maersk Inc., noted Lowenthal's collaborative governing style. He said in closing that "we believe he would be an excellent addition to the U.S. Congress."

Lowenthal refrained from criticizing DeLong on any specific issue, instead pointing to what he called "phenomenal sums of money" from unidentified sources that are "infiltrating" local races.

The U.S. Chamber does not need to disclose its sources of donations that are spent in campaigns, said Lowenthal, who called the surge of millions into local races "the real opponent."

Lowenthal's campaign says the Chamber TV attack ad features a small businesswoman complaining about how she can't hire people because she's unsure of the business climate, implying Lowenthal is to blame.

"Funny thing is, her business is in Minnesota, and one of its main services is helping other companies offshore jobs," Lowenthal campaign consultant Mike Shimpock said. "Even more funny is the citations they use to attack Alan for 'increasing regulations' and other conservative bugaboo language. It is AB568, a bill to prevent the shackling of pregnant juvenile detainees around the abdomen."


John B. Greet October 04, 2012 at 12:09 PM
So Councilman DeLong's contributors are trying to "buy this election" but Sen. Lowenthal's aren't? Ok!
Nancy Wride (Editor) October 04, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Politics, John. Whoever has the most money may win. :D
Mike Ruehle October 04, 2012 at 07:07 PM
A great question for Gary DeLong, who states over and over that Alan Lowenthal’s policies have been anti-business and driving the state into a financial abyss. If Lowenthal's fiscal policies are bankrupt as DeLong professes, why did DeLong himself donate to Lowenthal's campaign (not for this particular race, but for past state offices)? You can find DeLong's contributions to Lowenthal's campaign at the below link. It is in alphabetical order. Scroll down, you’ll find it under “G” for Gary DeLong. http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1272281&view=received&session=2007&psort=NAME&page=* This question comes from Marshall Riverdale at GreaterLongBeach.com
John B. Greet October 04, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I find it fascinating that, apparently according to Sen. Lowenthal, DeLong's supporters are somehow trying to "buy this election" while Lowenthal's own are somehow not. I also find this sort of double-standard and double-speak quite common among many career politicians. As to whomever's campaign has the most money, if that is truly the only -or even the main- reason candidates get elected, then what a sad, sad commentary upon the ability of a majority of the electorate to vote intelligently, based upon provable facts and records of public service (where available), rather than upon self-serving and entirely unproven political double-speak.
Nancy Wride (Editor) October 04, 2012 at 07:49 PM
John, sad but true. Which is why Citizens United is, in my view, such a dangerous decision, making corporations with deep pockets equal to citizens, usually without deep pockets. Of course both sides have financial backers, political supporters, PACs, constituencies. I know you are going to bring up unions at some point, and that will unleash people pointing out that you benefited from a police union, and so it goes. I thought the outsourcing stuff was interesting, as I do with Romney, or anyone that has claimed they know how to run payrolls and create jobs while having a history of laying off people and sending the jobs overseas, or lobbying for companies' right to do so, which the U.S. Chamber has, hasn't it?
Nancy Wride (Editor) October 04, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I saw these in comments last night on GreaterLongBeach.
John B. Greet October 04, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Some pertinent questions for Sen. Lowenthal, who claims that Gary DeLong's supporters are "trying to buy this election": "According to influenceexplorer.com, between 1997-2010 your various political campaigns have received a total of about $3.2 million in contributions. Would you say that the people and organizations who contributed to those campaigns were trying to 'buy' your elections as well? If so, given your political successes during that time, would you say that they succeeded?" -also- "Acccording to that same site, a full one third of your campaign contributions came from organizations identified as labor unions of one sort or another. Given that you have prevailed during all of these political campaigns, would you say that, in general, labor unions have, in essence, 'bought' each of your elections? If so, what have they received for their purchases?" -lastly- "Given that, nationally, the largest of the labor union political campaign contributors is the National Education Association (or NEA, a teacher's union) and given that the top industry that has contributed to your various campaigns is identified as "public sector unions" (which we can assume includes teachers' unions), and given your current position as Chairman of the State Senate Committee on Education, would you say that Teachers' Unions have made efforts to 'buy' influence in our State Legislature by so heavily funding your various campaigns? If so, would you say they have succeeded?
John B. Greet October 04, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Citizens United (CU) was an entirely correct Constitutional decision. To have limited CU would have likewise limited the political expenditures of Labor Unions, all of which are also nothing more than associations of people in corporate form. Does money influence campaigs and, thus, elections? Of course. So what is the best defense against such influence? An educated electorate. No amount of money in the world can make a falsehood true or make the truth a lie. It is the electorate's responsibility to educate itself better on the issues and the candidates and it is not the fault of various special interests who seek to take full advantage of those voters who prefer to remain ignorant and, thus, unduly influenced by vacuous bumper-sticker slogans, half-truths, and political spin. Yes I was a member of a public sector union for many years. I did not, however, support most of my union's political activities and I did not contribute to my union's political action committee (PAC.) I maintained my membership and paid my dues for two reasons only: to support our widow's and orphan's fund and so as to enjoy the right that every worker should have to the legal collective bargaining process. Private companies should absolutely have a right to move all or part of their operations offshore if they choose to do so. The best response to these movements should be for our own labor force to become more competitive, not demand that government forbid or penalize this practice.
Stefan Borst-Censullo October 04, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Your constitutional analysis is based not on any actual legal principle but rather a psychotically damaging view of absolute property rights and a defense of aristocratic wealth protection. Furthermore comparing democratic institutions (as in their decision making process is made by majority rule) like a labor union to a corporation is an incredibly lazy form of analysis.
John B. Greet October 04, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Stefan you are as entitled to your opinions as anyone else. Thanks for sharing them.
Eric Bradley October 04, 2012 at 10:07 PM
John, contributions to Senator Lowenthal's campaigns over the years have been reported through the FEC and FPPC so we know where the money is coming from. U.S. Chamber's unlimited flood of money comes from where? We don't know because they don't disclose. That's the difference. Alan Lowenthals Donors are giving money to a campaign to see a good man elected. U.S. Chamber is using undisclosed money - hidden money that could come from a single source to sway this election as well as dozens of others.
John B. Greet October 04, 2012 at 10:18 PM
"Alan Lowenthals Donors are giving money to a campaign to see a good man elected. U.S. Chamber is using undisclosed money - hidden money that could come from a single source to sway this election as well as dozens of others." Well, I suppose that is one way to interpret that information. Here's another: "Alan Lowenthal's donors are giving money to a campaign to 'buy this election.' The U.S. Chamber is using undisclosed money - money that individual donors have every legal right to contribute anonymously if they choose, to help get a good candidate, as as well as dozens of others throughout the country, elected to public office."
John B. Greet October 04, 2012 at 10:31 PM
By the way, donations from PACs comprise about 45% of Sen. Lownthal's current campaign contributions. For DeLong, it's 13%. Like the U.S. Chamber in DeLong's case, the PAC's that donate to Lowenthal are identified, but good luck getting those PAC's to disclose the individuals who donated to those PACs. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, no?
Eric Bradley October 04, 2012 at 10:34 PM
We can't tell if they are indivduals, John. They could be corporations, or even worse, a billionaire who could have written a check for the entire ad campaign. We just don't know because U.S. Chamber has kept their contributions secret.
John B. Greet October 04, 2012 at 11:11 PM
We can't tell if they are indivduals, Eric. They could be corporations, or even worse, a billionaire who could have written a check for the entire campaign. We just don't know because PAC's with entirely nebulous names like: "AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR JUSTICE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (AAJ PAC)", "AMERIPAC: THE FUND FOR A GREATER AMERICA", and "BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IN DIVERSE GEOGRAPHIC ENVIRONMENTS PAC (BRIDGE PAC)" have kept their contributions secret. Right?
Eric Bradley October 05, 2012 at 03:06 AM
John, I did FEC searches for the following:AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR JUSTICE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE C00024521, AMERIPAC: THE FUND FOR A GREATER AMERICA C00271338, and BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IN DIVERSE GEOGRAPHIC ENVIRONMENTS PAC C00399196 and found all three of these committee itemize disclose their donors. These three aren't keeping their contributions secret. They report to the Federal Election Commission in financial reports as the law requires. U.S. Chamber uses the Supreme Court's CU decision to get around all that, and so have an unfair advantage in campaign finance.
John B. Greet October 05, 2012 at 05:02 AM
So if I understand you correctly, your issue is that the US Chamber is following current case law concerning the freedom of political speech? Ok. I really don't have time to confirm your assertions on the three PACs I listed, but let's agree for the sake of argument that you are correct and the name of every person who has donated funds through those PAC's is a matter of public record. How about the names of everyone who has donated to Sen. Lowenthal through the Union PACs? If your issue is that individual donors are not named, then surely this concern extends to all of the union members who are not named as well, yes? BTW, *nothing* in the CU case addressed the confidentiality of people who choose to donate to political action committees. CU dealt solely with corporate expenditures as relates to political speech and nothing more.
Nancy Wride (Editor) October 05, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Eric Bradley does not seem to have been commenting on the CU at all, strictly with the story's subject, which was Lowenthal and small business supporters claiming undue influence by anonymous donors or corporations via the Chamber. That was my read, anyway.
John B. Greet October 06, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Nancy, Eric directly referenced Citizens United when he said: "U.S. Chamber uses the Supreme Court's CU decision to get around all that, and so have an unfair advantage in campaign finance." If Eric's thesis is accurate, then he must also acknowledge that any PAC that supports Lowenthal which accepts anonymous donations did the very same thing. True?


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