David Dodd 10:32 a.m., May 25
Donors walking: Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs and wife Joan kick in $80,000 to defeat death penalty
Politically speaking, it's been quite a week for Qualcomm founder and La Jolla billionaire Irwin Jacobs.
Fresh from his endorsement of Republican city councilman Carl DeMaio's mayoral candidacy last Thursday, the interview-shy cell phone magnate quickly tacked back to the left.
According to a campaign filing posted online late yesterday by the California Secretary of State's office, on October 1 the elderly Democrat and his wife Joan each gave a cool $40,000 to Proposition 34, the measure on November's ballot to eliminate the state's death penalty.
As previously reported here, Jacobs earlier gave $10,000 to the help qualify the proposal for the ballot.
The billionaire has long been a backer of liberal causes, as well as those of the Democratic party.
This year he’s joined fellow left-leaning billionaire George Soros in making huge contributions to a super PAC supporting president Barack Obama and a committee opposing GOP candidates.
But San Diego political insiders note that Jacobs has also provided financial backing to Republicans long before his DeMaio endorsement, including lame duck mayor Jerry Sanders, who was a stalwart backer of Qualcomm's controversial "Snapdragon stadium" gambit - declared illegal by the city attorney- as well as the contentious plan by Jacobs to make over Balboa Park.
The anti-death penalty drive has been especially popular among wealthy La Jolla Democrats, many of them lawyers, with once-imprisoned super-lawyer Bill Lerach leading a fundraising drive featuring a celebrity-laden party at his palatial La Jolla Farms estate.