Ken Leighton 12:30 p.m., Oct. 21
Fabian Núñez's Lobbying Power Grows
Ex-assembly speaker Fabian Núñez became a political pariah here this year after his close friend, then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, commuted the voluntary manslaughter sentence given Núñez's son Esteban for playing a role in the 2008 fatal stabbing of Luis Dos Santos, a Mesa College student, from 16 years to 7 years.
Democrat Núñez was speaker from 2004 to 2008, during which he became friends with Republican Schwarzenegger, striking Democratic-friendly deals with him on issues including the minimum wage and global warming.
The last-minute commutation by Schwarzenegger has since been challenged in court by San Diego district attorney Bonnie Dumanis and the victim's parents.
And two weeks ago, current-governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 648, requiring the governor to give ten days' notice to the D.A. in the county where the crime happened before granting clemency, thereby allowing victims and their families to challenge sentence reductions.
Meanwhile, Núñez has been a partner with Schwarzenegger advisor Adam Mendelsohn in a high-powered lobbying and poltical business, Mercury Public Affairs.
According to the firm's website, Núñez's "influence as a national political figure is of tremendous value to Mercury clients as he is able to tap into his understanding of political, cultural, commercial and government dynamics to help advise and guide clients on the best strategies to employ and the best tactics to use to ensure the best outcome."
Of Mendelsohn it says, "Since 2007, Mr. Mendelsohn has been Schwarzenegger's political advisor, helping to manage victories on Propositions 11, 14, and 23. Currently, he works with the former governor on all his entertainment, policy, and philanthropic endeavors."
Now, the Sacramento Bee reports, Mercury is merging its Washington office with D.C. lobbying firm Clark & Weinstock to become Mercury/Clark & Weinstock.
The move is expected to give Mendelsohn and Núñez (whom the paper says will continue to run Mercury's Sacramento office) a bigger presence in the nation's capital.
"Clark & Weinstock's client list boasts major corporations and political heavyweights in the financial, health, and technology sectors, including eBay, Microsoft, General Electric, and JP Morgan Chase," the paper reports.
"Its California-based clients include Napa Valley Vintners, the Dairy Institute of California, and the Department of California Highway Patrol."
Pictured: Fabian Núñez