Old politicos never die, they just become consultants and fade onto the advisory boards of taxpayer-funded organizations, where they make wealthy new friends, line up clients, and peddle their influence in ever-widening circles. Take the case of Steve Peace and Marty Wilson, brand-new members of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Advisory Council. It’s described on the institution’s website as “a high-level group of nationally and internationally prominent individuals who provide advice, assistance, and support to Scripps and its director.” The description goes on to say that council members use “their experience, connections, influence, and wealth on behalf of the institution to do things for us that we would have difficulty doing ourselves” and “provide access to people we might not otherwise be able to contact.”
Though they come from different political parties, Peace and Wilson are peas from the same San Diego pod. Peace, the Democrat, spent years in the state assembly and senate, where he became notorious for shouting down fellow legislators he disagreed with. But his bio blurb on the Scripps website remembers it differently: “Senator Peace has been credited with presiding over forums that have been described by the press and citizen groups as ‘bipartisan,’ ‘exhaustive’ and ‘open to a full airing of views.’ ” After he was termed out, Peace signed on as “senior advisor” to Padres owner John Moores. Scripps says the ex-senator also “provides independent consulting on public policy issues to private clients.”
Republican Marty Wilson started out as a campaign aide to then–San Diego mayor Pete Wilson. As the mayor moved up the political ladder, Marty Wilson, no relation, followed. These days, according to his Scripps bio, he’s executive director of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Recovery Team, which, though the bio doesn’t mention it, is the governor’s campaign fund-raising committee. In December, Wilson’s Sacramento-based company, Wilson-Miller Communications, was paid $75,000 by the campaign against Proposition 93, the failed term limit extension measure.