Hachhattar Chandi: "It's not a money matter for me at the end of the day."
The wife of one of Donald Trump's most stalwart California backers is channeling last-minute cash into a so-called independent expenditure committee aiding state senate Democrat Ben Hueso's bid for San Diego county supervisor.
Trump in Palm Springs
Susana Chandi, spouse of mega-Trump donor and Republican convention delegate Nachhattar Chandi, gave $15,000 on October 28 to San Diego Strong, Supporting Ben Hueso for Supervisor, according to an October 29 disclosure on file with the county registrar of voters.
Her occupation is given as chief financial officer of KSC & Son Corporation, of which Nachhattar is chief executive officer. When the couple gave $1700 each directly to Hueso's supervisorial campaign committee in June of 2019, her occupation was listed as a homemaker.
The power couple, which controls a sprawling empire of AM-PM gas stations and related petroleum industry-related businesses, is a longtime fixture of big-money political controversies in the Coachella Valley.
“Built upon an immigrant’s dreams of success in America, founder Nachhattar Singh Chandi with his wife and business partner, Susana Chandi, have developed a successful business model and specialize in bringing the best in convenience franchises into the area, providing employment opportunities and economic growth in the communities in which they do business,” notes a company website.
In August 2016, after Nachhattar funneled $500,000 into a pro-Trump presidential political action committee, protestors descended on the Chandi family AM-PM outlet in Mecca, according to a Desert Sun December 11, 2018, account.
"Campaign contribution data show Chandi and his companies have been regular donors to Indio candidates. Individually, Chandi donated $9,500 to Indio candidates in the past five years, making him the fifth-largest donor in the city overall," the story says.
According to San Diego county filings, the San Diego Strong independent expenditure committee has raised a total of $249,400 on behalf of Hueso's supervisorial drive from the beginning of this year through October 17.
In addition to Chandi's money, donations have included $15,000 from utility giant Sempra Energy; $9000 from El Centro Corner Petroleum, LLC; $10,000 from Roque de La Fuente's National Enterprises, and $25,000 from Urban Associates in Commerce, California.
"Urban Associates, Inc. is a longtime supporter of Senator Ben Hueso," a spokesperson for the firm, said in a statement cited by JacobinMag.com after Hueso voted in August to tank the progress of Assembly Bill 345.
Similarly, in February of this year, Nacchattar Chandi told Palm Springs TV station KESQ about a high-dollar Trump fundraiser he had attended at the estate of billionaire Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in Rancho Mirage.
"They love him," he said about the 100 or so six-figure donors who showed up for the event, where Chandi said he conducted a roundtable discussion with the president. "It's not a money matter for me at the end of the day. It's what I love. Nobody asked me to do this. I did it with my own open heart. Well deserved.”
According to the September 1 account,the measure would have imposed environmental regulations opposed by the oil industry, for which Urban Associates principal Prime Strategies has lobbied.
"Our company believes [Hueso] is a strong advocate for good-paying, union jobs and working families. To suggest anything more than that is simply insulting and another example of politics at its worst," the statement continued.