Peter Jensen 8:30 a.m., May 25
SDG&E Lobbyist Goes Independent While Parent Sempra Gives Big to Democrats
Mitch Mitchell, governmental affairs vice president at San Diego Gas & Electric, may have proclaimed his political independence, but his bosses at SDG&E's parent, utility giant Sempra Energy, apparently aren't ready to go along for the ride.
Mitchell's name appears on a roster of San Diego business types who have announced that they belong to "Movement to the Middle," which according to the group's website is a new "grassroots coalition of business and community leaders."
"At our core, we are fiscally conservative and socially progressive – a position and a place where many of us reside but neither party is willing to visit," the site says.
A pledge signed by the group proclaims "I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am an American."
Of course, Sempra and its subsidiary have always been non-partisan, in the sense that the firms give to both Democrats and Republicans, as long as they appear to be friendly to the companies' financial interests.
Cross a big corporation, though, and frequently the political money dries up, or worse yet, well-financed rival candidates step forward to knock off hapless dissidents.
A recent example of Sempra's political largesse is the $45,000 contribution the company made last week to the California Democratic State Central Committee.
The April 17 donation was not the only one reported by Democrats in yesterday's disclosure filing, posted online by the state Secretary of State.
There was Visa USA, Inc., with, $24,000; University of Phoenix parent Apollo Group, $40,000; California Cable Telecommunications Association, No on Prop 34 Committee, $100,000; Pala Band of Mission Indians, $65,000; Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, $200,000; and the California Teachers Association -- Issues PAC, $100,000.