Daniel Powell 7:02 p.m., Aug. 31
La Jolla-based Super PAC Is Backed by Self-Styled Superbug Master
Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who departed the Republican party and proclaimed himself an independent during this year's San Diego mayoral race, didn't get past the June primary, but a big money La Jolla-based Super PAC that supported him is still in business.
On June 4, the day before Fletcher's defeat at the hands of Democrat Bob Filner and Republican Carl DeMaio, the super PAC - which calls itself icPurple, Inc., and whose primary backer is mega-millionaire Ted Waitt, a controversial financier and founder of Gateway Computer - picked up $10,000 from J. Craig Venter, according to icPurple's most recent disclosure report.
Venter is the world-famous PhD from UCSD who raced federal researchers to a tie in sequencing the human genome at the end of the 1990s and two years ago announced that his DNA research and development team had been the first ever to create cut-and-paste "synthetic life" in the lab.
These days the gray-bearded Venter, ensconced in a posh La Jolla mansion with publicist and third wife Heather Kowalski, runs both a non-profit research foundation attached to UCSD and a profit-making bio-engineering complex down the road in Torrey Pines called Synthetic Genomics. That outfit has a lucrative contract with Exxon, the multi-national oil giant, to come up with energy-producing algae, though according to a May report by Bloomberg Businessweek, those experiments will require at least a few billion dollars more to complete.
Though Fletcher lost, two other political hopefuls backed by icPurple, California Assembly candidate Chad Walsh and former independent Maine governor and biomass energy pioneer Angus King, now seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate, remain in the running and on the endorsement list posted on the group's website.
Waitt's Avalon Capital Group gave $11,881 on June 30, bringing the firm's total contribution to $41,885.
A $50,000 contribution on the same date as Avalon's was attributed to LCX of Newport. The nature of the contribution was described as "in-kind Internet marketing services [estimated] for Non Fed CA Candidate, pending receipt of actual value."
According to LCX's website, the firm "plans, develops and executes online advertising campaigns for consumer brands."
By the end of June, according to icPurple's disclosure, the super PAC had rasied a total of $571,503, spent $544,312, and had $27,191 of cash on hand.
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