Democratic freshman congressman Juan Vargas, who has found himself uncomfortably caught up in San Diego’s latest political-corruption scandal, has scheduled his latest big-money fundraiser, this one to feature House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland. Called a “Torrey Pines Golf and Family Weekend,” the event, set for February 21 through 23, will cost donors $2500 to host and $1500 to merely sponsor, according to a copy of the invite posted online by PoliticalPartyTime.org. Vargas, who currently faces no opposition in his 2014 re-election bid, recently promised to return contributions his campaign received from Ernesto “Ernie” Encinas, an ex–San Diego cop accused by federal prosecutors of laundering cash from an unnamed Mexican national, widely said to be José Susumo Azano Matsura, to a bevy of San Diego politicos, including fallen Democratic mayor Bob Filner and GOP district attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
Political goldmine GOP county supervisors Ron Roberts and Bill Horn, facing reelection this year, have been especially busy padding their campaign funds, according to recently filed campaign disclosure reports for last year. At the end of the year, Roberts’s fund was sitting on $169,740. Horn had $141,025. Donors to Roberts included Paul Viviano, chief executive officer of UC San Diego Health System and the school’s associate vice chancellor, who kicked in $700 on July 31. Viviano’s annual base salary is $720,00, plus other benefits to total $908,916, according to university records.
Another $700 Roberts donor in July was James Neal Blue, chairman and CEO of General Atomics, maker of the Predator drone. Developers and builders gave generously to pro-growth Horn, including Jeb Hall of Concordia Homes, Lusardi Construction chairman John Bailey, and Landmark Consulting’s Mark Brencick. Trash magnate Edward Burr, chairman of EDCO Waste and Recycling Services, gave $500. Erik Brandin of Good Sense, Inc., in Las Vegas, kicked in $700. Records show he is also associated with Brandin Real Estate and Arizona Goldmine, LLC. Rita Brandin, senior vice president and development director of Newland Development in Las Vegas, also came up with $700.