John and Becky Moores with UCSD chancellor Mary Anne Fox
  • John and Becky Moores with UCSD chancellor Mary Anne Fox
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Democrats continued to lead the pack of San Diego county donors to federal campaigns during the first four months of 2019, with Escondido lawyer and nuclear proliferation opponent Ira Lechner, with legal roots in Washington D.C.'s fabled beltway, coming in first with a total of $98,000.

The wealthy Democrat's top contribution, $44,300 went to the Nancy Pelosi Victory Fund, and he gave $5600 to the House Speaker's reelection committee, disclosure records show. Lechner kicked in $33,700 for the Democratic Congressional Committee, gave $5400 to the House reelection bid of fellow lawyer Mike Levin, and $5000 to PAC to the Future, another Pelosi-linked committee.

Second on the list of the county's biggest federal campaign givers was Rebecca Moores of Del Mar, whose bitter 2010 divorce from super-rich ex-Padres owner John Moores, netted her a secret cash settlement requiring sale of the team.

Like Lechner, Moores gave $44,300 to the Pelosi Victory Fund. She came up with $33,900 for the Democratic Congressional Committee, gave $5400 to Pelosi's reelection bid, and $5000 to PAC to the Future.

Hamid Mani

Hamid Mani

La Jolla doctor and condo developer Hamid Mani, with total donations of $44,300, placed third among individual San Diego givers, filings show, with the money divided among Pelosi's causes.

The county's biggest single Republican money giver during the first three months of the year was biotech heiress and La Jolla Farms socialite Claire Reiss with a total of $30,742.

$10,000 of Reiss's cash went to the Sasse Leadership Committee, run by GOP Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and $5600 to Sasse for Senate, along with $4400 for Sasse's Sensible American Solutions Supporting Everyone PAC.

Reiss gave $5900 to the Committee to Defend the President, as well as $2742 to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, according to disclosure filings.

She is the widow of Bob Reiss who died in April 2005. He was a medical technology entrepreneur who struck it rich with an outfit called Interventional Technologies.

A native of Gui Zhou, China, Claire Reiss has since her husband's death become a major funder of conservative causes, most famously for giving $1 million to 2008's Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriages. The measure won voter approval but was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

Fifth on the county's overall big money individual givers list during the period was Republican Charles Herring with a total of $24,100. He gave $10,400 to the Rand Paul Victory Find and $5400 to the GOP Kentucky senator's reelection campaign.

In addition, Herring came up with $5600 for Team Graham, Inc., a campaign fund run by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and $2700 for indicted San Diego GOP Houser member Duncan Hunter. No money went to Trump, according to the data posted online by the Federal Election Commission.

After getting rich making circuit boards, Herring started One America News Network, a conservative cable channel that has reportedly become one of president Donald Trump's favorites, according to a July 2017 Washington Post account.

On Monday, May 13, Trump tweeted a shout-out to the San Diego-based broadcaster, saying, "Also, congratulations to @OANN on the great job you are doing and the big ratings jump ('thank you President Trump')!"

But the executive mention came after a minor dust-up over the failure by the president to plug Herring's channel in a March speech Trump gave in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to a May 13 post.

"The network responded with a salty, since-deleted tweet in which it lamented that Trump omitted 'a single mention of One America News — one of his GREATEST supporters ... @OANN calls bullshit.'”

In all, county denizens gave a total of $1.67 million during the disclosure period, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee getting the biggest slice, 10.53 percent, followed by the Pelosi Victory Fund with 6.5 percent.

Next came the Ammar Campa-Najjar for Congress campaign, at 5.3 percent, representing about $89,000. Duncan D. Hunter for Congress, backing Campa-Najjar's Republican foe, lagged with $12,000, according to the numbers.

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monaghan May 17, 2019 @ 1:59 p.m.

It's always good to read these lists of Big Funders because they alleviate personal guilt for not giving to worthy causes like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and, on the GOP side, they introduce me to names I've never heard before like, well, everyone mentioned.


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