Valero card. Valero Energy Corp. is among the companies that have plowed $7.5 million into the Coalition to Restore California’s Middle Class.
  • Valero card. Valero Energy Corp. is among the companies that have plowed $7.5 million into the Coalition to Restore California’s Middle Class.
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With San Diego's nastiest race of primary season 2018 hitting new lows almost daily, a political committee funded by Sacramento's oil lobby checked into the contest with $35,000 on May 18 to help pay for TV attack ads against Fourth District county supervisor candidate Lori Saldana.

Lori Saldana — targeted by oil lobby's $35,000

The petroleum industry fund, calling itself the Coalition to Restore California's Middle Class, has collected over a million dollars each from some of the biggest oil outfits in Texas, including Valero Energy of San Antonio ($2 million) and Tesoro Companies, also San Antonio-based ($1 million). CRC Services, LLC of Houston, Texas came up with $750,000, and Chevron Corporation of San Ramon, California gave $1.5 million.

Another oil target — San Benito County supervisor Robert Rivas, leader of a successful initiative to ban fracking.

Besides its anti-Saldana money, the group of out-of-state oil producers and refiners has so far spent $320,000 to defeat the Assembly bid of San Benito County supervisor Robert Rivas, leader of a successful initiative to ban fracking, reports the Gilroy Dispatch.

Lorena Gonzalez, whose husband Nathan Fletcher is running against Saldana

A May 24 endorsement of Rivas's assembly bid by the Morgan Hill Times said Rivas "took early leadership in the anti-fracking movement, which despite $2 million in spending by Big Oil, carried 59 percent of the votes and inspired similar initiatives in other California counties."

The oil company PAC has in past years targeted assembly supporters of so-called Climate Action legislation, according to the DeSmog blog.

"Chevron Corp., Tesoro Cos. Inc., Valero Energy Corp. and Occidental Petroleum Corp. are among the companies that have plowed $7.5 million into the Coalition to Restore California’s Middle Class since 2014."

In addition to its current efforts against Saldana and Rivas, state campaign finance disclosures show that the oil fund has so far this year come up with $550,000 for the California Republican Party.

The presence of the oil industry money in the messy San Diego race is widely linked to the key role of assembly Democrat Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher on behalf of husband Nathan Fletcher's supervisoral bid against Saldana.

A torrent of cash related to state legislation, including $15,000 on May 14 from the Sacramento-based California Medical Association Independent Expenditure Committee, has been given to the anti-Saldana group, which a May 22 disclosure shows has spent over $91,000 on media buys and production of attack ads.

Additionally, the San Diego County Democratic Party, which is spending heavily on behalf of Nathan Fletcher, has picked up $165,000 from his wife's campaign committee, in turn backed by $2000 from controversial private prison operator CoreCivic of Tennessee LLC, $6400 from Sempra Energy, and $4400 from Chevron, among a bevy of other legislative special interests.

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Comments

monaghan May 24, 2018 @ 7:54 p.m.

If Lorena can't pull her new-Dem husband Nathan into a Supervisor's spot with all her cash, clout and help from grateful lobbyists, what is going to happen to the guy? What will happen to her if he loses yet again?

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CV_Res May 26, 2018 @ 3:38 p.m.

The reason Nathan Fletcher needs all this outside lobbyist money is because his record is dismal. The reason all these outside lobbyists are funneling money into Nathan Fletcher’s campaign is they know what they are buying. They know his record and they can expect more of the same even though Fletcher is no longer running as a Republican. The reason the Democratic establishment has endorsed Fletcher is because he married into a power broker. The corrosive power of money is not limited to Republicans.

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CV_Res May 26, 2018 @ 4:03 p.m.

The two democratic candidates could not have records more different. For example, Saldaña wrote the law that ended open carry of handguns in California and Fletcher voted against it. Saldaña got a 7% rating with the NRA and Fletcher got a 93% rating with the NRA. Saldaña voted pro environment. Fletcher voted anti environment. The best indicator of a candidate is how they voted in the past. Saldaña’s votes have clearly supported the people of San Diego and Fletcher’s votes have supported his big money donors.

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