Old Democratic warhorse Bob Mulholland, fresh from a successful bout with a serious illness, is back in the political fray, this time as part of a three-man hit team called CEO Watch, sponsored by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. Mulholland, formerly the state party’s chief spokesman, made headlines in 1992 when, four days before the November election, he revealed that GOP senatorial candidate Bruce Herschensohn had visited an L.A. strip club. Herschensohn’s opponent, Barbara Boxer, went on to win the race. In 1995, he bedeviled ex-Governor Pete Wilson with the fact that the then–presidential hopeful’s onetime maid happened to be an illegal alien. This year Mulholland has targeted Boxer’s reelection opponent, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
CEO Watch “will expose and explore the records of Republican candidates who brag about their business credentials as qualifications for seeking public office,” according to an August announcement of the effort, which in addition to Mulholland is staffed by fellow Democratic veteran consultants Kam Kuwata and Jeff Millman. Two weeks ago, the team took on a local Fiorina fund-raiser sponsored by a bevy of big-dollar defense contractors, including SAIC, General Atomics, and Cubic. CEO Watch dispatched an email blasting the event: “Fiorina holds SD fundraiser at home of Gene Ray of Titan Corp., plagued by serious ethical scandals.” That was followed with a tweet playing up local TV station XETV’s negative coverage: “Seeking influence? The industry reps who paid nearly 5 grand a plate to attend tonight’s Carly Fiorina fundraiser in Rancho Santa Fe.”
Of course, this being politics, Mulholland and company failed to point out that, according to the nonpartisan campaign-finance-reporting site OpenSecrets.org, during this election cycle the political action committee of SAIC has so far given $60,000 each to both the Democratic and Republican congressional campaign committees, as well as $10,000 each to Democratic congressmembers Jane Harman, Norm Dicks, Steny Hoyer, and Ike Skelton, as well as to GOPers, including Congressman Darrell Issa and Senator John McCain.
For its part, Cubic kicked in $5000 to the campaign of the late Democratic congressman John Murtha and $4000 each to local Democrats Bob Filner and Susan Davis; it favored Republican Duncan Hunter with a bit more: $6500. The Democratic senatorial committee was the top funding recipient from General Atomics’ PAC, with $25,000; the GOP’s congressional committee placed second with $16,000.