|Of course I've got my hand out|
And yet Chris Holden, freshman Assemblyman from our very own 41st Assembly District, achieved the senior position of State Assembly Majority Whip (link) only a few short weeks after being elected to office for the very first time. Along with some other rather plum assignments. Here is how the happy news is celebrated in a press release on Chris's very own official State Assembly website (link):
Holden Named to Key Assembly Committees
Created on Thursday, 03 January 2013 16:11
Sacramento – Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) was today appointed by Assembly Speaker John Perez to several key committees. Holden, who serves as Majority Whip, will also serve on the Appropriations Committee, Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, Labor and Employment Committee and Transportation Committee.
"I am pleased and honored to participate in these important committee assignments to improve the lives of all Californians," said Assemblymember Holden. "Many of these committees are areas in which I have some experience from my years working in the Pasadena City Council, the Burbank Airport Authority, and with Metro Gold Line. I look forward to putting that experience to work dealing with the challenges facing our district and our state."
Assemblymember Holden represents the 41st Assembly District which includes the communities of Altadena, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, San Dimas, La Verne, Claremont, and Upland.
CONTACT: Wendy Gordon, (626) 720-3409
So how did he manage to get all that? The press release doesn't say. But according to the Center for Investigative Reporting (link), Freshman Assemblyman Chris Holden apparently paid Speaker John Perez $199,000 in targeted campaign donations for these prestigious and influential positions. It would seem that this is how they get it done in our vastly corrupt State Legislature.
In an article titled "California speaker gives Assembly's juiciest jobs to biggest fundraisers," here is how the Center for Investigative Reporting describes this "process:"
In May 2012 and again in June, Speaker John A. Pérez wrote memos to Democrats in the California Assembly. He wanted millions in campaign cash to win a handful of key races.
At stake, Pérez wrote, was their party’s control of the Assembly – and, as it turned out, the perks and power enjoyed by the lawmakers themselves.
“It is critical that we band together to maximize our financial resources,” the burly Los Angeles legislative leader wrote in the memos, copies of which were obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
The lawmakers gave Pérez what he wanted, state campaign finance records show.
Exploiting loopholes in a law enacted to stanch the flow of big money in state politics, the Assembly Democrats pumped $5.8 million into the campaigns Pérez designated, a CIR data analysis shows. The infusion of cash helped the Democrats win a supermajority in the Capitol: two-thirds control of the Legislature for the first time since 1883.
The system also paid off for the speaker’s biggest fundraisers in the Assembly.
According to the data, Pérez gave lawmakers who raised the most money the best assignments in the new Legislature – posts on the speaker’s leadership team and seats on the powerful “juice committees.”
These are seven of the Assembly’s 30 standing policy committees. They control bills affecting the financial bottom line for the Capitol’s wealthiest interest groups: from banks, insurance companies and public utilities to casinos, racetracks and liquor distributors. For lawmakers who serve on them, the committees are a source of political campaign “juice”: abundant donations.
Pérez’s spokesman John Vigna said the speaker makes legislative assignments based on merits, not money.
“There is absolutely no connection, zero connection, between Speaker Pérez’s leadership selections and any political considerations, including fundraising,” he said.
“Speaker Pérez chooses his leadership team based on their ability to serve the people of California” and nothing else, Vigna added.
CIR’s analysis of more than 38,000 contributions to Assembly Democrats in the 2011-12 campaign shows a link between donations to the speaker’s targeted races and a lawmaker’s prospects for important legislative assignments.
Among the findings:
The mega-donors to Pérez’s targets – three lawmakers who gave more than $250,000 – obtained positions of power. Each was named to either a leadership post or chairmanship of a juice committee, along with a seat on at least one juice committee. The top donor, Toni Atkins of San Diego, was named Assembly majority floor leader – next to the speaker, the top leadership post.
Lawmakers who gave more than $150,000 were likely to get multiple important posts. All 18 got one juice committee seat, and 16 got a leadership post, chairmanship of a juice committee or a seat on a second juice committee.
Lawmakers who gave less got less. Donors who contributed less than $150,000 stood a 13 percent chance of heading a juice committee or joining the leadership. No lawmaker who gave less than $40,000 was named chairman of a juice committee.
So does Chris Holden, paid up power player in our State Assembly, give preferential treatment to those interests who fronted him the dough he needed to buy influence in Sacramento? Let me put it this way, chances are you are not someone who gave Chris a substantial check. Have you received any phone calls from your State Assemblyman lately?
And if you had given our brand new State Assembly Majority Whip a large check in the last year or so, do you think that maybe you would be able to get him on the phone if there was something you needed? Of course you could. Isn't that what you paid for?
Without that money Chris Holden would be just be another rank and file guy with nothing much of value to sell. Access is money and money is power. He owes you.
Who helped Holden buy his positions of influence in Sacramento? Thanks to Follow the Money.org, that information is only one click away (link). Just to whet your appetite, Chris has received over $1,000,000 in campaign donations from influence hungry organizations. It really is quite a list.
And who is Chris's #1 campaign donor? The California Association of Realtors.
For a great video that accompanies the CfIR report, click here.