[POLITICS] John Chiang - "Victim of Political Drive-by Shooting"
- State Controller Candidate John Chiang is "Victim of Political Drive-
by Shooting" Says Speaker of the Assembly: Read the Facts Behind
This Charge, It May Affect Your Vote.
Make sure you pay attention to this low visibility but important
state office and that of the Lieutenant Governor's office which is
also involved. Your vigilance is the only way tax cheats and other
special interests will not control the outcome of these races.
By Frank D. Russo
fyi: For California residents, one is encourage to being politically
involved. Mr. Chiang has Parke Skelton as his consultant. An
invitation is extended to review his background and position before
making your voting decision.
Unfortunately, without access to substantial financial resources -
he's had not the opportunity to gain a high public profile and has
had inexperience supporters from his camp unable to provide or
willingness to provide a complete picture.
John Chiang, the Democratic candidate for California State
Controller has received some good news and some bad news in the last
couple of days. A dedicated public servant, the good news is that he
received a ringing endorsement from the Los Angeles Times this
morning, which said:
He chairs the state Board of Equalization, a post that steeps him in
tax and financial policy. He has done a good job of going after tax
cheats, while also reaching out to businesses to make sure they know
how to comply with the law and aren't needlessly overpaying.
The bad news is that a group of powerful special interests, who
would not responded to press inquiries and who operate in secrecy,
have decided at this last minute to spend millions in effort to
defeat him in "independent expenditures." In what is normally a low
visibility race with candidates not able to buy television ads,
software company Intuit deposited $1,000,000 into the account of a
group called "Alliance for California's Tomorrow." At the same time
this group announced that they would begin running TV ads to defeat
Chiang and elect Republican Tony Strickland. Intuit, the owner of
the software program TurboTax, vehemently opposes John Chiang's
efforts to make free software available from the state for those who
want to pay their taxes online.
This shadowy group, the Alliance for a California's Tomorrow has
also received large contributions from tobacco, HMO, insurance and
But there's even more to this than the naked self interest of
Intuit, and their fellow travelers. There are more millions of
dollars from special interests involved. It gets even worse. Take a
look at the LA Times article today, "Money floods race for
controller: Tribes and a software giant, Intuit, roil the placid
campaign with $1-million donations to groups helping the GOP's
Independent Expenditure campaigns that have raised over $10 million
in the past couple of days have begun spending this money in an
effort not only to defeat John Chiang and elect a compliant Tony
Strickland, but also to defeat John Garamendi who is running for
Lieutenant Governor and elect ultra conservative Tom McClintock to
that post. They don't care about what this will do in many important
policy areas that these posts deal with, often unseen by the average
Californian. They are just trying to buy the best officeholders
money can buy.
Another IE committee, Team 2006 funded by $9.1 million in
contributions from casino-owning Native American Tribes, disclosed
yesterday that they had begun buying TV time to defeat Chiang. Their
initial purchase was for $917,000. These tribes have substantial tax
issues that come before the Board of Equalization and the Franchise
Tax Board. The Controller sits as the swing vote on both of these
tax policy boards.
"The Controller is California's fiscal watchdog," stated Chiang's
consultant Parke Skelton, "But we have wealthy special interests
that want to put a muzzle on that watchdog. California needs an
independent Controller who will fight for California's families."
"It is truly appalling that a couple of wealthy groups can, in a
day, pump much more money into this critical race than both of the
candidates have raised in over two years of work," Skelton concluded.
The Times reports in that article that:
The same tribes have spent $122,000 boosting Strickland's wife,
Assemblywoman Audra Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks), although she is in
a safe GOP district. Both husband and wife have been reliable votes
for tribal casino interests.
They also reveal the following:
The tribes and Intuit each have one reason to support the GOP
The state controller sits on the Franchise Tax Board, a three-member
panel that oversees state income tax policy. But the controller's
influence over tax policy goes beyond that post.
The controller also serves on the five-member Board of Equalization,
which oversees sales and property tax issues. Additionally, the
controller votes for that board's chairman, who also sits on the
Franchise Tax Board. Whoever wins the controller's race Nov. 7 will
determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the boards.
Intuit has inserted itself into the controller's campaign as part of
its fight to block the Franchise Tax Board from simplifying the
state income tax filing process. From his post on the Board of
Equalization, Chiang embraced "ReadyReturn," a program designed to
remove some of the agony of tax season by having the government
complete low-income Californians' tax returns.
The program alarms Intuit. If it were to be fully implemented,
ReadyReturn could threaten sales of one of the company's most
successful software programs: TurboTax. Facing a fierce lobbying
effort by Intuit, the Legislature this year blocked the state from
spending money on ReadyReturn.
Neither Chiang nor Garamendi voted on or had anything public to say
about the massive tribal gaming pacts that Republicans tried to
shove through the legislature at the last minute at the end of the
session. You can read about the politics of the end of session where
Republicans attempted to pass the largest expansion of casinos in
California and perhaps United States history without a public
hearing on most of them.
The Times concludes their article:
By siding with Strickland and against Democrat Chiang, political
experts believe, the tribes are taking a backhanded swipe at
Assembly Democrats. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican,
negotiated compacts for major expansions of the tribes' gambling
operations. Assembly Democrats blocked the deals in August; Chiang
had no role in the action.
"If the intent is to send a message to me, it is a damned weird way
of doing it," Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) said
Wednesday. "This is a political drive-by shooting. The guy did
nothing to hurt them."
If there is a payback here, the voters should deliver one and elect
two reformers: Chiang Controller and Garamendi Lieutenant Governor.
Don't let them be the victim of this last minute shooting.
CAPA October 31, 2006 at 05:36 PM
The Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans is asking consumers to stop
buying Quicken software and other products made by Intuit in
response to the company's attempt to buy an election away John
CAPA is asking people to send pledges to boycott Intuit products via
email or fax to co-founder and executive committee chairman Scott
Cook, president and CEO Steve Bennett and chairman Bill Campbell.
Their email addresses and phone numbers are listed on our blog at
"Boycott new purchases of Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax if you're
against blatantly buying candidates to increase corporate wealth,"
said Dale Minami, president of CAPA.