A dark money attack in San Diego

Legislation to expose the identity of donors to dark money political groups stalled earlier this year in the face of opposition from organized labor.

Now, one of those dark money groups, called Pick Justice, is airing ads attacking perhaps organized labor’s strongest ally in the Legislature, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a San Diego Democrat, a labor lawyer and a former labor organizer.

The ad claims Gonzalez supports “building a wall between hard-working immigrants and the American dream.” The spot urges people to call Gonzalez’s office and tell her to “quit working for powerful union bosses and start working for us.”

Jesse Rojas, 26, of Bakersfield, takes credit for the ad and says it’s being funded by concerned citizens:

  • “I’m not going to disclose donors. Nobody does that.”

Organizations that champion greater campaign disclosure are pushing legislation by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, a South San Francisco Democrat, to require disclosure of donors to such groups that air so-called issue-advocacy ads in the weeks leading up to elections.

Why it matters: Voters would be better able to evaluate the ads if they knew the funders.

The Service Employees International Union, which opposes many campaign-disclosure measures, is opposed to Mullin’s measure. It stalled, though Gonzalez voted for it. The bill could be revived in 2020.

Trent Lange of the California Clean Money Campaign: 

  • “We’re still working with them and are hopeful we will be able to address their concerns.”

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