Bustamante To Return Some Funds for Anti-Proposition 54 Advertisements to Donors
Gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D) on Monday withdrew some of his anti-Proposition 54 television advertisements and said that he will return some of the $3.8 million in campaign funds used to finance them, the Sacramento Bee reports (Bluth, Sacramento Bee, 9/30). Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Loren McMaster on Sept. 22 ordered Bustamante to return to donors funds obtained through an old campaign account -- most of which were transferred to the Cruz Bustamante Committee Against Proposition 54 -- because the funds exceeded new state limits. Proposition 54, also called the Racial Privacy Initiative, would mandate that state government agencies and schools could not collect racial and ethnic data but would allow exemptions in cases that involve some medical research data, convicted criminals or crime suspects and federal requirements. Bustamante campaign officials said that $2.2 million in ads had aired before the decision and that the campaign had sent an additional $2 million to TV stations before the decision to pay for ads that aired last week. McMaster on Friday ordered Bustamante to make a "good-faith effort" to cancel contracts with TV stations for the ads (California Healthline, 9/29). According to court documents filed Friday, Bustamante will return $177,035 to donors (AP/Fresno Bee, 9/30). Lance Olson, an attorney for Bustamante, said that campaign officials on Friday began to call the 55 TV stations with which the campaign had contracted to air the ads. "Of the 55 stations, 43 indicated they would not agree to cancel the ads, nor would they refund payments. The remaining 12 stations agreed to either cancel the ads and refund money or agreed to attempt to resell the ... time," Olson said. State Sen. Ross Johnson (R-Irvine), who filed the original lawsuit, called the effort a "pathetic response" to the order issued by McMaster and said he may take legal action against the Bustamante campaign (Sacramento Bee, 9/30).
Summaries of other recent Proposition 54 coverage appear below.
- Ward Connerly, the author of Proposition 54, and Jack Lewin, CEO of the California Medical Association, on Monday debated the potential impact of the measure on public health, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports (Pritchard, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 9/30).
- The San Jose Mercury News on Tuesday profiles Connerly, who "knows he's losing" on Proposition 54, according to recent polls, but continues "the fight for what he calls true equality" (Corcoran, San Jose Mercury News, 9/30).
- The Los Angeles Daily News on Sunday examined the response that educators in Santa Clarita have had to Proposition 54 (Tong, Los Angeles Daily News, 9/28).