Campaign Finanace

This was clipped from the SGV Tribune, March 3. It's not a letter to the editor, but is relevant nonetheless. Note that these numbers do not include individual contributions made outside of the listed groups. Also, note that the contributions are counted only up to the 19th of February, three weeks before the election. (Also, note the interesting construction of the title, which starts with the phrase "wal-mart puts candidates in lead", as if their candidates are "in the lead". They could have more simply written "Wal-Mart Makes Largest Contributions to Candidates.")

Overall, these campaigns are relatively inexpensive, considering the millions of dollars in profits are at stake.


Wal-Mart puts candidates in lead for funding
By Jason Kosareff, Staff Writer

ROSEMEAD -- Wal-Mart and its supporters have raised by far the most money for Tuesday's election, backing the three incumbent candidates who approved the retailer's Super Center on a 24-acre development.

Wal-Mart has spent $23,631,campaigning for Margaret Clark, Bill Alarcon and Joe Vasquez, who were part of the unanimous decision in September to approve Wal-Mart's store. Most of the money -- $15,000 --went to the Rosemead PRIDE political action committee.

The contributions outpace union contributions to candidates John Nunez, John Tran and Polly Low, who oppose the Wal-Mart Super Center planned for Walnut Grove Avenue and Rush Street.

Four unions have made cash and in-kind contributions totaling $16,794.43 to the campaigns of the three Wal-Mart foes and the political action committee supporting them.

The figures come from campaign statements filed for Jan. 23 to Feb. 19. The documents show:

- With its cash infusion from Wal-Mart included, PRIDE has raised $36,586 for its campaign in favor of the retailer and the incumbents;

- Save Our Community, which opposes Wal-Mart and supports three of the challengers, has raised $3,094.36;

- Candidate Dennis McDonald is running without Wal-Mart or union money. McDonald, a former councilman who favors Wal-Mart, has raised $11,015.51, with $8,620.45 from his own pocket;

- Tran raised the most money as an individual candidate with $32,033;

- Low has raised $9,983;

- Clark has raised $14,923;

- Alarcon has raised $11,030;

- Vasquez has raised $11,269;

- Nunez has raised $10,000.

Wal-Mart spokesman Peter Kanelos said it is not unusual for the retailer to get involved in political races.

"We wanted to make sure that the people in Rosemead understand that Wal-Mart supports candidates who support consumer choice," Kanelos said.

Kanelos said he expects labor unions will make more contributions between Feb. 23 and Tuesday. Wal-Mart will also likely spend more money before election day. Those figures will be reported after the election.

Wal-Mart on Tuesday gave $53,500 to community groups throughout the city, a move opponents say was sheer campaigning. The groups largely support Wal-Mart or have endorsed the incumbents.

El Monte Union High School District and Rosemead School District got $15,000 from Wal-Mart. Garvey School District and Alhambra Unified School District -- which have Tran and Nunez for board members -- got nothing.

"This is such a big grass-roots effort," said Ron Gay of Save Our Community. "We're getting a little help (from the unions), but the bottom line is your talking about residents and citizens. You can't really buy this election, which Wal-Mart seems to think it can do."

-- Jason Kosareff can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2717, or by e-mail at .