Hillary Clinton and the Jacobses
It's official. Hillary Clinton is coming to town again — more specifically to the La Jolla manse of billionaire Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan, whose son Paul, Qualcomm's executive chairman, is fresh from overseeing a grueling announcement of mass layoffs and other cutbacks at the troubled cell phone giant.
The August 7 Jacobs home fundraiser is expected to attract the crème of local fat cats, while some of the former first lady and secretary of state's biggest local donors have already anted up the maximum contributions to her campaign fund, and turned to so-called independent political action committees to handle their pro-Hillary cash overflow.
As previously reported here, Jacobs, a longtime Democratic giver and presidential supporter going back to the day of Hillary's husband, Bill, got a head start on backing the Democratic frontrunner last August, when he and Joan came up with $50,000 for the Ready for Hillary political action committee.
The list of those who have already forked over for Clinton's presidential committee is formidable.
It includes Ted Roth, a godfather of local high-tech causes, who gave $2700, along with fellow Carlsbad residents Judi Missett of Jazzercise, and Emad Zawaideh of SCI Instruments, who both donated the same.
Among the ranks of other $2700 maximum donors, according to federal disclosure filings, are Chula Vista's Victor Blanco of SBG Technology Solutions; port of San Diego board member Bob Nelson; health spa maven Deborah Szekely; ex-San Diego city manager Jack McGrory; Qualcomm government affairs vice president Shawn Covell; and Pauline Foster, whose daughter Lisa and son-in-law Alan Bersin are both old friends of the Clintons and employed by the current Democratic administration.
In Coronado, Rudy Murillo, a longtime supporter of Lynn Schenk, the one-time Democratic Congresswoman who is running the upcoming Clinton fundraiser at the Jacobs mansion, gave $1000.
“We didn’t want San Diego at the tail end," Schenk was quoted by the Union-Tribune's Diane Bell as saying about the Jacobs event.
Bell reports that tickets start at $1,000, rising to $2,700 for a VIP “meet and greet" before the main breakfast event.
During Clinton's 2008 battle with Barack Obama for their party's presidential nomination, Schenk was a designated "Hill Raiser" for funds on behalf of the former first lady and one of the Clinton campaign's "rapid responders," described in a news release as "a group of truth tellers who will respond to inaccurate or misleading attacks."
These days attorney Schenk is better known as a member of the boards of Governor Jerry Brown's controversial bullet train project and of Sempra Energy, the giant San Diego-based utility which paid her over $100,000 a year in 2013, according to a February 2014 state disclosure filing.
According to the disclosure, at the end of 2013 Schenk owned between $100,000 and $1 million in Sempra stock, in addition to holding options valued at between $10,000 and $100,000.
She also had ownership of between $100,000 and $1 million in Qualcomm stock.
For his part, Jacobs and troubled Qualcomm have long lobbied the federal government for more so-called H1-B visas, the controversial work documents for foreign engineers.
William Bold, a key strategist in that effort, and the company's senior vice president of government affairs, was formerly legislative director in Schenk's congressional office.
Jacobs himself is the city's wealthiest and arguably most powerful player in local politics and public opinion molding.
In addition to his big money backing of national Democrats and Republican-turned Democrat Nathan Fletcher's failed bid for mayor against Republican Kevin Faulconer and Democrat David Alvarez, the wealthy engineer has handed out big money to so-called nonprofit news operations, including the Voice of San Diego and KPBS, the San Diego State University-run public broadcasting operation which named its newsroom after him.
Until the sale of the then-U-T San Diego to Chicago-based Tribune Publishing this spring, its Republican owner Douglas Manchester, the voluble La Jolla real estate magnate, was widely seen among political watchers as being a key ideological foe of Jacobs and Fletcher, who became a Qualcomm executive after his loss at the polls.
The newly renamed Union-Tribune's new publisher Austin Beutner of Los Angeles, at one time a high-ranking figure in the administration of Bill Clinton, financially favored Hillary Clinton's first presidential try in 2008 with $2300 and her 2000 U.S. senate campaign with $2000.
He also co-sponsored a Clinton speech, along with an award and gala, in Los Angeles in May, 2013, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times, of which he is now publisher.
In addition to Jacobs's support for Hillary Clinton's campaigns, Qualcomm paid her a personal fee of $335,000 for a single speech here last October.
The company had earlier reached a deal with the New York state attorney general's office to settle charges it had failed to fully disclose its political gifts and payments to influence.