Friday, May 17, 2002
Gray Davis Scandal Watch: A month ago I suggested that Gov. Davis would get himself into trouble when the media started looking into his budget decisions vis a vis campaign donations. I got some e-mails from readers suggesting the liberal media wouldn't be that hot to do the research and footwork it would require.Well, those people didn't take into account the media's desire for scandal -- it sells newspapers.
From today's San Diego Union-Tribune:
What they should be concerned about are the campaign contributions Davis has received from various special interests after his administration has made decisions that profit those interests.
Like the Davis administration's no-bid software contract with Oracle. Only days after the governor's top aides consummated the sweetheart deal ? which will cost the state's taxpayers an unnecessary $41 million ? Davis received a $25,000 donation from the software maker.
Then there's the governor's suspicious flip-flop on a tax break for the insurance industry. In 1999, Davis vetoed a bill that would have preserved the tax break, worth millions of dollars, arguing that it was "neither fair nor in keeping with sound taxation principles."
But after receiving more than $250,000 in campaign contributions from Fireman's Fund Insurance Companies, the governor reversed himself. He now is supporting the insurance industry's case before the Franchise Tax Board, arguing that it is a matter of fairness.
And Oracle and Fireman's Fund are hardly aberrations. Just this past weekend, in fact, Davis picked up a $260,000 campaign contribution from the California Pipe Trade Council.
The trade union was feeling generous toward the governor after the Davis-appointed Building Standards Commission issued a ruling earlier this month keeping plastic water pipe from replacing copper pipe in homes. The union opposes using plastic pipe because it is cheaper and easier to install than traditional copper. It so happens that California is one of only two states that continue to prohibit plastic pipe in homes.
The governor insists that the policies, the decisions, the actions of his administration are not driven by campaign contributions. But California voters are to be forgiven for suspecting otherwise.
As the list gets longer, so will Davis' problems. GOP candidate Bill Simon's chances keep getting better, if he can take advantage of it.