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Two years ago this month we reported that political consultant Larry Remer--who once worked with Jane Fonda and her then-husband, former radical and liberal Democratic state Sen. Tom Hayden--had been employed by a political committee backed by a business lobbying group calling itself the Civil Justice Association of California.

The association's board was populated by representatives of California's biggest corporations, including Sempra Energy, Anthem Blue Cross, Allstate Insurance, CNA Insurance, American International Group, Chevron Corporation, General Electric, Intel, ExxonMobil, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Using two committees, the group spent almost $1.5 million on an indendepent campaign to elect Democrat Juan Vargas, a former San Diego city councilman, state Assemblyman, and insurance company lobbyist, to the state senate over his fellow Democrat, then-Assemblywoman Mary Salas, regarded as the liberal in the race.

Although the corporations' campaign was technically separate from Vargas's, Remer, the candidate's longtime friend and political advisor, was widely regarded by local observers as the key strategist of the effort, noteworthy for its slashing attacks on Salas.

Vargas went on to narrowly edge out Salas, and now, midway through his term, is running for congress to replace Bob Filner, who wants to be mayor of San Diego.

Enter the state's Fair Political Practices Commission, which next week is set to sign off on a $6,000 fine against the big corporate guns for failing to properly reveal to the public their role on behalf of Vargas.

"On or about June 2, 2010, Respondents Put California Back To Work, Sponsored by the Civil Justice Association of California and J. Richard Eichman made an independent expenditure which caused a mass mailing to be sent in support of Juan Vargas for State Senate District 40 and in opposition of his opposing candidate, Mary Salas, which failed to display the top two contributors of $50,000 or more during the 12 month period prior to the expenditure, in violation of Government Code section 84506," says a proposed stipulation between the commission and the campaign committee.

Although Put California Back To Work was "a primarily formed committee to support the election of Juan Vargas for State Senate District 40 in the June 8, 2010 Primary Election," the filing says, the committee "failed to add the full name and office of the candidate it supported as its primary activity, and failed to include in Respondent Committee’s name, the name of the candidate, office sought and year of the election for whom the committee supported or opposed."

The FPPC document notes that there was no doubt as to the intention of the Civil Justice Association.

"According to Respondent Committee campaign statements, during the period January 1, 2010, through June 30, 2010, Respondent Committee made expenditures of approximately $1,449,440.

"Approximately $1,270,440 was made in support of Juan Vargas and in opposition to his opponent, Mary Salas. Therefore, approximately 88% of the campaign activity was in support of the election of Juan Vargas for State Senate District 40 and in opposition of a candidate opposing him in the same election.

"At no time prior to the June 8, 2010 Primary Election did the contributions or expenditures in support of Juan Vargas and opposing Mary Salas fall below 70%."

Despite that, "Prior to the June 8, 2010 Primary Election, Respondents Committee and Eichman paid for multiple advertisements and mass mailers in support of the election of Juan Vargas for State Senate District 40 and in opposition of Mary Salas, none of which included the proper disclosure."

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Comments

monaghan March 6, 2012 @ 6:10 p.m.

We need someone with intelligence and integrity to represent us in Congress and that person, hands down, is Denise Ducheny. She was on the Community College Board, in the California Assembly and State Senate and she knows budgets. Juan Vargas is just a creature of the special interests.

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BlueSouthPark March 7, 2012 @ 7:08 p.m.

Yes. Please give support Denise Ducheny, everyone, no matter where you live. Vargas in the US House is a horrible thought. Unless, of course, it might lead to a cell next to Randy Cunningham...

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Twister March 7, 2012 @ 6:12 a.m.

Don't forget--"integrity" is derived from "integration." Puppets are hilarious because they lack true integration and respond only to the movements of the strings attached to their pinned-together parts.

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BlueSouthPark March 7, 2012 @ 7:11 p.m.

I love your extrapolation. Or interpolation. Whatever. Vargas is a dirty word. Why did the SD Democrats endorse him over Ducheny? Why? Why? Why?

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glori571 March 7, 2012 @ 9:11 p.m.

Watch out for the character assassination tactic that Vargas will use against Denise Ducheny. He'll allude, misrepresent, exaggerate, mislabel and lie. He has so much money he has bought out some of the local political junkies by giving them "jobs" in his campaign. I'd like to know how many paid staff members he has working in the south bay for him. He can't generate very many volunteer if they know who this sell out is. "Vargas se vende" That means he's for sale and we know who the buyers are.

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InOmbra March 9, 2012 @ 3:40 p.m.

Please read my comment about Vargas in Dave Rice's Reader story today, on endorsements for women, including Denise Ducheny: http://tinyurl.com/7m3m6vn

Vargas is a willing tool. Last year County Supervisor Bill Horn hated Vargas because Vargas introduced a bill related to the Gregory Canyon landfill. Horn said publicly that he hoped Vargas would never, ever be in a position to carry another bill. But all of a sudden Horn loves Vargas: he and other County supes endorsed a proposed Vargas bill that will put taxpayer dollars in the pockets of local commercial property owners and businesses, who are Horn's big money supporters. Horn tweeted "Its funny how an election year causes Sen Vargas to change his stripes. Stripes are very trendy these days & we like his new look." Bought, sold, and delivered to the wealthiest interest group, that's always been the Vargas way. Monaghan said it best: "We need someone with intelligence and integrity to represent us in Congress and that person, hands down, is Denise Ducheny.

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corvina1 March 10, 2012 @ 8:51 a.m.

We need a candidate with intelligence, integrity and a very strong work ethic-- non of which are qualities possessed by Mr. Vargas. The sad thing is that when he loses his Congressional bid, we will still be stuck with him in the California Senate and he WILL retaliate against those who supported Ms. Ducheny.

Sorry state of affairs......

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InOmbra March 10, 2012 @ 10:19 a.m.

Good profile of Ducheny and her accomplishments, published two days ago: http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/8929

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SuperTeams Aug. 22, 2012 @ 2:52 a.m.

A blog on the day to day affairs of the corporate world. A must read for those who want to stay in touch with the latest news on the corporate world. Team Building Gold Coast

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