• Corporate cash carries weight in legislative races Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    This might be a recession, but somebody’s got some cash to throw around.

    Over the last two months five well-heeled organizations have dropped nearly $400,000 in a campaign against Betsy Butler, former development director for Consumer Attorneys of California and one of nine candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in the June 8 primary for Assembly District 53.  (Some members of Consumer Attorneys of California sit on the board of the Civil Justice Research and Education Project, which funds this site.)

    Betsy Butler

    Betsy Butler

    Interestingly, they don’t seem to have spent a dime for any candidates in that race.

    At the risk of appearing to back a connection — it’s not, I’ve never met Butler, and this should not be construed as an endorsement — it’s striking that these groups are so afraid of Butler getting into the Assembly they’re willing to spend massive amounts of money to have any other Democrat get that seat. It’s now held by Ted Lieu, who is running for the Democratic attorney general nomination.

    So who are the groups so set against the possibility of an Assemblymember Butler?

    They include Californians for Balance and Fairness in the Civil Justice System; Put California Back to Work (sponsored by the Civil Justice Association of California), the Californians for Civil Justice Reform PAC, Californians Allied for Patient Protection Independent Expenditure Account (CAPP is a group dedicated to maintaining a limit on the amount of damages that can be awarded to Californians injured by medical negligence), and the Cooperative of American Physicians Independent Expenditure Committee.

    See a theme here?

    And where do those groups get their money? From insurance companies, medical firms and other groups with a vested interest in trying to limit consumers’ access to the courts as a means of redressing negligence and other wrongs. In short, the kinds of things Butler has been fighting for.

    If spending is an indication of concern, then it looks like these groups are very worried.

  • Butler, Salas facing off against big corporate bucks
  • Butler wins, Salas too close to call
  • Corporate interests win: Salas concedes to Vargas
  • Why are business interests so anxious to defeat a California Assembly candidate?
  • Big Wallet: Insurance industry throws $17 mil at June 8 contests

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