Sat, Jul

Show Me the Money! Who’s Behind California’s 17 Ballot Initiatives


EXPOSED—Want to know who has the most to gain/lose in politics? Follow the money. MapLight has done that for us on California’s ballot measures. Who’s ‘for’ the legalization of pot? Who’s against it? Keep reading.

1 — There are 17 measures that have qualified for California’s November ballot, covering everything from death and taxes to sex, drugs, and guns.

2 — Initiative campaigns have already raised about $185 million.

3 — The biggest spender so far is the pharmaceutical industry. It has contributed $70 million — or 38 percent of all the money raised for ballot measures so far — to fight Proposition 61, which would limit the prices state agencies pay for prescription drugs.

4 — Unions, school administrators, and the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems have given $19 million to the campaign for Proposition 55, which would extend an income tax increase on people earning more than $250,000 a year.

5 — Tom Steyer, a billionaire and possible Democratic contender for governor in 2018, has contributed $1 million to support Proposition 56. The measure would increase the cigarette tax by $2 per pack.

6 — Some big names in Silicon Valley, including Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Paul Graham of Y Combinator, and Marc Benioff of Salesforce have given money to support Proposition 62, a measure that would repeal the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

7 — A competing measure, Proposition 66 is aimed at eliminating delays in carrying out the death penalty by imposing time limits on legal reviews of capital convictions. It has the support of law enforcement groups.

8 — Supporters of Proposition 64, a measure to legalize marijuana, have raised over $7 million. Napster founder Sean Parker has contributed about $2.8 million.

9 — The committee opposed to legalizing pot, the Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, Sponsored by California Public Safety Institute, has raised $141,000.

10 — A measure requiring actors in adult films to wear condoms, Proposition 60, has raised more than $1.6 million from its only financial supporter, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to the ballot measure committees associated with California’s November 2016 ballot measures. All numbers are based on latest data made available by the California Secretary of State as of July 7, 2016.

(Bret Hendry is the Communications Manager at MapLight.