Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
One-time Democrat and ex-Padres owner Moores gives $20,000 to anti union political withholding measure
Rancho Santa Fe mega-millionaire John Moores is one of the most infamous switch-hitters of San Diego politics.
When he arrived in San Diego from Texas after buying the Padres in 1994, Moores was a Democrat, and so friendly with President Bill Clinton that he and two other Lone Star Democratic fat cats each paid an $18,000 "retainer" to Webster L. Hubbell, a lawyer who had resigned from Clinton's Justice Department amid allegations of impropriety.
Moores told reporters he paid the money at the request of Truman Arnold, Clinton's close friend and onetime finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Based on allegations of hush money being paid to protect Clinton's wife Hillary in the so-called Whitewater scandal, Moores and two of his employees were subpoenaed in 1997 to testify before a federal grand jury in Arkansas convened by Whitewater independent counsel Ken Starr.
As we noted back in May of that year, "Moores 'walked past groups of reporters twice Wednesday without responding to questions before finally exiting the federal courthouse in Little Rock through a back door.
"'Moores was accompanied by two unnamed female employees, who were also testifying under subpoena.'"
Then came 2002, when conservative Ward Connerly mounted an initiative drive to ban collection of racial data. Both Connerly and Moores were members of the University of California Board of Regents and opposed to affirmative action programs.
Moores had been a half-million-dollar contributor to the cause of Democratic governor Gray Davis, who had then appointed the Padres owner to the regents board.
Three years later, as part of a 2005 settlement of charges that he had illegally routed campaign cash through a non-profit corporation, Connerly revealed that his heretofore secret donors included Moores and Fox media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Flash forward to this year's campaign, and Moores, though still very chummy with ex-Democratic president Jimmy Carter, is apparently sticking to his Republican guns. On October 29, according to a disclosure filing posted online by the California Secretary of State's office, Moores gave $20,000 to the Yes on 32 campaign to ban labor unions from using payroll deductions of their members to fund political campaigns. The same prohibition would apply to corporations, but most corporate political money isn't raised in that manner.
Moores joins other San Diego locals R.B. "Buzz" Woolley, the La Jolla financier and founder and chairman of the Voice of San Diego online news operation, who has given $10,000, and Oceanside Tea Party Republican businessman Dan Hughes, CEO of Carlsbad's Coast Environmental, Inc., with $5150, in backing Prop 32.