SeaWorld's stock may be down on Wall Street, but it definitely appears to be up with Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.
After repeated battering by animal-rights advocates over the issue of orca captivity, the marine-animal emporium on Mission Bay went to war against detractors and hired a pricey Sacramento lobbying outfit this spring to fend off passage of state legislation to ban whale shows at the park.
Then Brown included SeaWorld's marketing vice president Marilyn Hannes on his three-day trade-promoting trip to Mexico to visit with president Enrique Peña Nieto late last month.
Now, according to an August 20 disclosure filing with the California Secretary of State's Office, Brown has received a $25,000 reelection campaign contribution made by the Orlando, Florida-based operation August 19.
Brown didn't take a public position on the SeaWorld bill, authored by Santa Monica Democratic assemblyman Richard Bloom, but it was obvious to many capitol observers that he wasn't exactly rooting for its passage.
"Some party leaders, perhaps even those on Gov. Jerry Brown’s team, did not want to hand Republicans a jobs issue in an election year," reported U-T San Diego’s Michael Gardner in a post-mortem on Bloom's legislation, which was shelved by the Assembly's Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee in April.
Whether jobs or more personal financial considerations played a part in Brown's reticence to get involved, SeaWorld's full-court press included paying its Sacramento-based contract lobbyist, Montgomery Consulting, LLC., $40,000 during the second quarter of this year, according to a disclosure report filed by the company July 30.
The influence-peddling boutique is run by Pete Montgomery, who used to be government-affairs chief for oil giant BP North America and was chief of staff for former Republican senator Bruce McPherson of Santa Cruz.
In addition to its Sacramento spending, during 2013 SeaWorld spent $600,000 for lobbying activities connected with the Animal Welfare, Marine Mammal Protection and Endangered Species Acts, according to the website Odwyerpr.com.
As first reported here in March, SeaWorld gave heavily to local congressmembers of both parties and has backed the Republican Lincoln Club with $15,000 for its battle against city-worker pensions, among other local political contributions.