The battle over Barack Obama's nuclear control agreement with Iran has yielded more than a few San Diego winners and losers.
Among those perched on the negative side of the ledger in the wake of the president's victory were advertisers who funneled major dollars into anti-agreement commercials on local TV stations.
As previously reported here, a newly emerged dark-money group called "Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran" — allied with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — was up on local television in mid-July with an initial total buy of almost $60,000.
Then, just before this week's congressional showdown, another anti-treaty organization, American Action Network, made a $18,820 buy on independent station KUSI, owned by Republican Mike McKinnon, and $33,900 on KNSD, an NBC-owned station, say purchase disclosure forms. According to the filings, the commercials were intended to put heat on Democratic congressman Scott Peters, a proponent of the agreement.
Like Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, American Action Network, headed by ex-Republican senator Norm Coleman and former Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush presidential aide Fred Malek, is not required to disclose the identities of its donors.
Meanwhile, local victors in the fight over the Iran deal included Qualcomm cofounder and Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs, an Obama financial backer and one of 33 prominent Californians identifying themselves as "American Jewish supporters of Israel," who signed a full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal that favored the proposal, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Also on the list was Eli Broad, another member of California’s Democratic billionaires’ club, and a longtime monetary ally of Jacobs in San Diego politics.
Similar to Jacobs in San Diego — who has provided major money to San Diego State University's public broadcasting operation and the Voice of San Diego, a nonprofit news and opinion website here — Broad has played a largely behind-the-scenes but powerful role in Los Angeles media.
There he is known for attempting to seize control of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, both currently owned by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing.
The L.A. billionaire's failed foray in that regard was linked to this week's firing of Times and U-T publisher Austin Beutner, a Broad friend fingered by some as would-be engineer of the deal.
On Thursday, Broad signed a letter with his political and business allies — including former L.A. mayors Richard Riordan and Antonio Villaraigosa — attacking Beutner's removal.
"After many years of struggling through a series of financial and operational difficulties, Austin had demonstrated in only eleven months that the Times was once again capable of impactful journalism and meaningful community leadership," the missive says.
"Making such a drastic decision to terminate him after he had served less than a year in that position is both curious and disappointing to us.”
Whether Broad eventually manages to grab control of the newspapers and manipulates them to benefit Jacobs and his San Diego political agenda could be of importance to another Jacobs ally and winner in the Iran agreement battle.
Republican-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher, who failed in two tries for San Diego mayor despite big money from Jacobs and associates, has been biding his time as a Qualcomm executive, and denying having further political aspirations.
But as Washington’s showdown on the Iran deal neared this week, Fletcher was ushered into the White House and seated next to Obama (with secretary of state John Kerry on the president’s other side) for a photo-op during which the president hailed the Marine veteran of Iraq, included in a group of fellow veterans and Gold Star mothers, for supporting the agreement.
Californian Jeff Miller, a fundraiser and former advisor to Arnold Schwarzenegger and current campaign manager for Republican ex-Texas governor Rick Perry, a presidential aspirant, wasn’t pleased.
"Nathan. When you determined you couldn’t win the mayors race as a republican, you switched to an independent and many of us were disgusted with you. Then when you decided to run as a democrat, I just no longer cared. But this…this is a disgrace,” Miller reportedly wrote on Facebook.
UPDATE 9/11, 2:50 p.m.
This afternoon it is being reported that Rick Perry has "suspended" his second bid for the presidency.