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Friday, May 28, 2010
VOTERS REJECT SLUSH FUND POLITICS
By Matt Kokkonen

All over America, voters are rejecting the lies and half-truths of politicians.
 
They are rejecting “business-as-usual” politics, secret political agendas, and
 
the influence of Big Money on our elections. They are demanding greater
 
transparency and accountability from public officials. They rightly believe
 
that America’s legislative chambers are controlled by special interests –
 
be they Big Business or Big Labor or any number of others -- which demand
 
favors in return for campaign contributions. They truly believe America’s
 
political leaders are up for auction to the highest bidder.
 
 
This corruption of our political system is being played out right here in the
 
33rd Assembly District, although the local media tries to ignore it.
 
 
One candidate has received over $86,000 in funding from a dummy political
 
committee ( which until a few days ago was not even registered with the
 
California Secretary of State! ) established primarily for the purpose of
 
evading campaign contribution limits ( limiting contributions to Assembly
 
candidates to $3,900 per person ) and pumping tens of thousands of dollars
 
into his campaign indirectly to pay for slick television ads.
 
 
The group in question calls itself the “California Taxpayers Advocate” and
 
the candidate involved is 33rd Assembly District candidate Katcho Achadjian.
 
There is no information on the Internet about “California Taxpayers Advocate.”
 
Nor does this “organization” have a website. Its address is a UPS Store in
 
San Diego. Its media buyer is an ex-California State Senator.
 
 
Sound fishy? Certainly.
 
 
By law, committees such as this must legally file paperwork with the Secretary
 
of State when they spend money in support of or in opposition to a political
 
candidate. This is the only way we can determine who is paying for “California
 
Taxpayers Advocate.” The most recent filing deadline was May 27 and this
 
is what we find:
 
 
Among the contributions to this group is $31,000 from the California Dental
 
Association PAC, $25,000 from the California Medical Association PAC, $10,000
 
from PG&E, $15,000 from the California Building Industry Association, and
 
$20,000 from the giant grocery chain, Food4Less.
 
 
Why exactly do these special interests want to elect Katcho to the Assembly?
 
Why do Big Medicine, Big Utilities, Big Developers, and Big Grocers need
 
Katcho in the Assembly? Why do they need to be funneling tens of thousands
 
of dollars into his campaign through surreptitious means? Sure, it may be legal
 
( if everything is properly reported ), but that isn’t the point.
 
 
Do Big Business interests, public employee unions, and other entities -- which
 
spend millions of dollars every year lobbying our legislators -- make large
 
political contributions simply out of charity or because they have nothing better to
 
do with their money?
 
 
Of course not. They are buying access. They are seeking special consideration.
 
Frankly, they are buying votes. It has not been unprecedented to hear of
 
legislators who actually skimmed through their contributor lists to determine
 
which visitors to their hallowed offices they would choose to meet with. This
 
is simply wrong and it is unethical. Our legislators are elected to represent
 
the voters of their districts, not PG&E, the CMA, or Food4Less.
 
 
Katcho Achadjian has been a county Supervisor for a decade. He is an expert
 
politician and the master of the kind of closed-door, back-room deal-making
 
that the people are increasingly fed up with. In this campaign, he had an
 
opportunity to break with his long-standing image as a political wheeler-
 
dealer and opt instead for a fully transparent campaign. He has chosen not
 
to do so and the voters of the 33rd Assembly District are undoubtedly the
 
losers.
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