Corporate Money Trail
From Shasta to San Diego, corporations and their lobbyists make hefty campaign contributions to persuade California lawmakers to prioritize their corporate profits over people, and block reforms our state badly needs. Below are industries known to have influence over California lawmakers because of their corporate cash contributions.
Oil & Gas
Few California industries are more powerful – or have deeper pockets – than the oil & gas lobby. In one recent year, the industry spent nearly $100,000 every day lobbying Sacramento legislators to protect its interests. Meanwhile, Super PACs funded by giants like Western States Petroleum Association and Chevron donate millions to Assembly and Senate candidates, securing their loyalty when critical regulatory decisions are made. Nearly every member of our Hall of Shame can thank the fossil fuel industry for massive financial support – and when you see their votes, you’ll see why it pays for the industry to keep forking over the cash. (Learn more about the influence of oil & gas money on California lawmakers and take the pledge to let your legislators know you want them to push for change.)
In California and across the nation, glaring law enforcement inequities persist, including but not limited to the killing of unarmed civilians – too often and disproportionately people of color – by police officers. We as a people know the status quo is tragic and wrong, and that change is needed and wanted. But reform efforts continue to stall because the law enforcement lobby lines the pockets of legislators who block change. The pro-incarceration lobby spends millions on everything from campaigns of District Attorneys who refuse to prosecute police who murder to draconian ballot measures that threaten real progress. Industry groups like the California Correctional Peace Officers Association CCPOA and the Los Angeles Police Protective League LAPPL have too long dictated terms of the criminal justice debate in California. It’s time for a change. (Take action against the influence of cop money on California legislators.)
No issue affects the daily lives of more Californians than housing and no one has a more vested interest in keeping housing expensive than landlords and developers. Thanks to the huge influence of big money, the real estate lobby has racked up victory after victory – spending $77M to defeat rent control measure Prop 10 and shelling out $100M+ in the last decade to fight tenant protections, environmental safeguards, and common-sense regulation that would benefit our entire state. As the amount of Californians that experience homelessness skyrockets, the real estate industry cuts huge checks to legislators willing to look the other way. California’s path to fair housing starts by evicting the real estate lobby from the penthouse suite of public debate. (Learn more about the influence of the real estate lobby on California lawmakers.)
With a sophisticated disinformation machine and bottomless funding, the health insurance lobby has been a powerful deterrent to the interests of constituents. Candidates across the political spectrum have received millions of dollars in donations from Kaiser Permanente, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Anthem, to name a few. Legislators have consistently succumbed to special interest pressures, most recently in their failure to pass AB 1400 to pave the way for single-payer healthcare in the state. With these organizations quietly lining the pockets of legislators, healthcare reform remains just out of reach for Californians, over 90% of whom support universal access for residents.