Local political consultant Larry Remer, who back in May 2006 pled guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of violating campaign-spending laws after a federal jury deadlocked 10–2 for conviction on a raft of more serious counts, already looks like the big money winner in this year’s Democratic primary season. According to campaign disclosures filed with the California secretary of state, Remer — a Democrat who claimed that Republican U.S. Attorney Carol Lam trumped up the case against him — is working for a Republican-leaning outfit called “Californians for Balance and Fairness in the Civil Justice System, Sponsored by the Civil Justice Association of California.” According to its website, the Civil Justice Association “works to reduce the excessive and unwarranted litigation that increases business and government expenses, discourages innovation, and drives up the cost of goods and services for all Californians.”
The group’s board of directors is packed with big corporate interests, including Anthem Blue Cross of California, Sempra Energy, Allstate Insurance, CNA Insurance, American International Group, Chevron Corporation, General Electric, Intel, ExxonMobil, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
In March, according to the records, Remer’s Primacy Group received $12,008 in the form of an independent expenditure supporting Juan Vargas’s state senate bid. David Takashima, a former utility-company lobbyist who worked for Democrat Steve Peace when he was in the legislature, got $12,395, also for efforts on behalf of Vargas.
Contributions to the group included $75,000 from the Travelers Indemnity Company on February 10; $50,000 from United Services Automobile Association last December 30; and $50,000 from the California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee on January 28. Word from the Sacramento rumor mill has it that the corporations may ultimately spend more than $1 million in their bid to return Vargas to the legislature.