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If there's one lesson to be learned from the last few election cycles, it's the rising influence of independent political committees. The outside support groups and the people who run them are becoming more and more adept at raising big money from corporations and private donors.

Luckily for mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher and the outside committee that supports him, Restoring Trust in San Diego, Bridgepoint Education has bought into that curriculum. On October 3, the for-profit university based in San Diego wrote the pro-Fletcher committee a check for $25,000.

The donation does not come without some baggage. Earlier this year, Bridgepoint, which owns and operates Ashford University has become a punching bag for U.S. Senators to pound on during recent hearings in Washington DC. In 2012, chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Tom Harkin called the company a "scam."

At the time figures showed the for-profit college collected $30,574 in tuition for a two-year business degree, almost over four times the amount that public institutions charged.

Fletcher, a former Republican and ex-Independent, has received some significant donations from San Diego's most powerful and wealthiest families. Other big names to have given cash to advance his efforts include Irwin Jacobs and his entire, I repeat, entire family. Jacobs and co. are joined by Kevin Ahern and his clan, who have given the former State Assemblyman a total of $8,000. Other contributors to Flecther's campaign are Dan Feldman, president of Sunroad Enterprises, and Debra Reed, CEO of Sempra Energy.

And while by no means a small contribution, the $25,000 doesn't come close to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the unions are putting behind their candidate of choice David Alvarez. It does, however, give some insight as to who executives from San Diego's largest corporations are turning to. The fact that big business and powerful executives are flocking towards Fletcher, might spell trouble for councilmembers Kevin Faulconer and David Alvarez who, according to recent polls, might be vying for a second place finish and a chance to advance to a special runoff election.

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It is fitting that bogus educational institution Bridgepoint -- that scams GIs and the unemployed out of high tuitions and federal student loan monies, the reason for Senator Tom Harken's skeptical scrutiny -- -- would ante up big-time for bogus UCSD "professor" Nathan Fletcher who is running for Mayor. Fletcher got that part-time gig through the intercession of his Qualcomm boss Irwin Jacobs who has philanthropic clout at the university on the hill.

Oct. 7, 2013

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