Robert Bush 8:35 a.m., May 25
Cox's everlasting political money machine gears up for 2016
First district county supervisor starts fundraising for 2016, less than seven months after winning easy re-election bid
As noted here back in February of this year, GOP county supervisor Greg Cox has long proved to be a dedicated fundraiser for himself, even if his electoral competition is virtually nonexistent.
By this time last year, Cox had squirreled away $343,939, raised from the usual suspects, including:
$500 each from Cox Communications vice president Sam Attisha; Jacob Brouwer, owner of Superior Ready Mix; Katayoun Y. de la Fuente, wife of border-property baron and car dealer Roque de la Fuente; Damon Hininger, of Brentwood, Tennessee, president and chief executive of private jail operator Corrections Corporation of America; Hininger’s wife Carrie; Anthony L. Grande, another Corrections Corporation vice president; Steven Groom, another Corrections executive; John Beasley, yet another Corrections executive; developer Sushil Israni of Pacifica Companies; Reena Israni; real estate investor Roberto Jinich; Peter MacLaggan of Poseidon Resources; junkyard owner Charles Siroonian, president of Ecology Auto Parts; and Siroonian’s wife Deborah.
Perry Dealy, a former employee of U-T San Diego owner and real estate developer Douglas Manchester, and now a consultant for the hotel mogul, kicked in $250.
In June, Cox easily bested his token re-election opponent and was honored as a member of the Lung Association's “Clean Air Circle," after a host of local special interests, including Solar Turbines, the Sycuan casino tribe, and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, a public agency, contributed $5,000 each to the charity on his behalf.
Then, last Thursday, Cox made it official, filing a statement of his intention to run again for reelection in 2016, along with setting up a new campaign committee, "Friends of Greg Cox for Supervisor 2016."
Cox will have something of a head start over any potential opponents who have the temerity to challenge to a sitting San Diego county supervisor.
At the end of this June, the latest reporting period available, the Cox 2012 campaign still had $263,191 in the bank, having collected new cash in June from donors including Sempra lobbyist Mark Nelson ($300); Hamann Companies land acquisition agent John Gibson ($500); and real estate man Greg Lansing ($500).
As usual, the ubiquitous GOP campaign consultant Tom Shepard, who also provides political services to Democratic mayor Bob Filner, got a tidy cut of Cox's campaign action, receiving $6,000.
So-called eternal political fundraising campaigns such as Cox's are legal, but critics say that they can encourage corruption by offering special interests year-around opportunities to curry favor with elected officials by employing sizable cash contributions.
The huge campaign war chests thus raised also serve to dissuade would-be challengers from taking on long entrenched incumbents, the critics believe.
Such fundraising practices aren't confined to Republicans; one of this year's biggest Democratic examples has been San Diego city councilman Todd Gloria, who this fall lavished his extra cash - raised from an array of special interests - on his political friends and allies.