I am going to lay out some insider information via a string of events and occurrences that strongly indicate a pattern.
Let me preface this by stating that most all of the massive independent expenditures of cash have been financed by Charles T. Munger Jr. via has Spirit of Democracy PAC. There have been much smaller amounts contributed by CREPAC (realtors), the Dentists, Chevron, Eli Lilly, PG&E, JOBSPAC and the Chamber Pot PAC. (The last two are functions of the California Chamber of Commerce mostly)
As I have written previously, on a personal level, I like Mr. Munger and have found him to be a reasonable, thoughtful gentleman. Many on the right of the party could learn a few things from his approach. I can not make the same complements about some of the folks hired and paid with his money. I truly believe that Mr. Munger was motivated by what he believed was in the best interests of the GOP.
However, the nearly $9 Million spent (by Mr. Munger alone) in 2016 attempting to control party offices, county central committees and elections statewide may well have been tossed in to a bonfire.
Several mainline political consulting firms had as much as $1.5 Million go through their hands in the course of the 2016 largess. I had to sift through individual reports and take hand-written notes to reverse engineer where the money was spent. We will never know with 100% accuracy, but looking at the slate vendor’s reports and seeing consulting making slate buys for county central committee races was my first clue how this was engineered.
The first clue things had changed was in 2016, seeing the CAGOP get nothing more than token amounts of money from Mr. Munger. Several county parties cut off their registration programs as they had no sources of funding outside of Mr. Munger’s largess.
Earlier this year, I lampooned David Hadley for running for governor and claiming he’d get backed up by $1 Million from Mr. Munger. Reality set in apparently as Hadley’s campaign did not last a month. Many on the right remember with anger the $1 Million spent on Neel Kashkari against the fraud known as Tim Donnelly, it apparently is not there in 2018.
Some of the top Lieutenants in the “leadership operation” (code word for the combination of Charles Munger’s money and the whims of the permanent minority leaders) are out looking for other work. (more on that in a bit)
Los Angeles County and Ventura County let go of their paid staff in the last few months. Both are no longer receiving financial support from Mr. Munger. I’ve heard similar reports from other Bay Area Counties that I have not confirmed yet therefore I am not mentioning individual counties.
The operation against Chad Mayes featured several County Parties who had at least half or more of their elected members elected by the massive expenditure (that I estimate at $2.2 Million) of money by the “leadership operation” go off the rails against the very leader who participated in those expenditures. Several CAGOP leaders who had received material support from the same operation also revolted.
Remember the #capandtraitors? – Heath Flora benefited from $600K spent on his behalf. The “leadership operation” even spent about $200k attacking conservative San Joaquin supervisor Ken Vogel as well
Rocky Chavez? How about nearly $1 Million, including a boatload of attack mail against Conservative Sherry Hodges (who now works for Diane Harkey)
Marc Steinorth? It approaches $1.5 Million over all cycles
Jordan Cunningham? Yup, he got some too
Catharine Baker? On the aggregate, it is approaching $3 Million over all cycles.
Would be Cap and Traitor Frank Bigelow was elected over Conservative Hero Rico Oller due to the sheer mass of $1.5 Million of mostly negative ads descending on one of the most conservative districts in California. While I like Bigelow on a personal level, he is not a conservative and does not match AD05’s socially conservative base, this is a statement of fact.
The “leadership operation” spent $1 Million on Ling-Ling Chang’s failed Senate Run and another $1 Million getting Josh Newman qualified for a recall.
Are you tracking with me? Millions of Charles’ Munger’s money gone. What does he have to show for it? Proposition 14 and a ton of losses. Now Charles Munger’s top Lieutenant Luis Buhler is in a full blown drill to try and save prop 14 as it, too is on the chopping block with a rumored referendum coming to overturn it. (PS, Labor Unions – if you are looking for a Conservative Republican to help you overturn Prop 14 when you qualify the initiative, please reach out to me)
I’ve received reports that I have confirmed that David Stafford Reade is taking candidate campaigns and is set up to run candidates in opposition to other consultants he once worked with closely. It is my professional opinion that this is because Mr. Reade needs to replace the lost income he will not receive courtesy of the “Leadership operation”. (Please note, I am not accusing Reade of a crime, or ethical issues in this case) Mr. Reade has consistently been on the payroll of said operation ever since Meg Whitman’s train wreck and gravy train ended.
I then learned that Andy Garakhani, (who is a good dude, btw) also referred to as Andy Gimmecandy (couldn’t help myself there) has landed a gig working directly for a statewide GOP candidate. This is another long time top Lieutenant of the Munger operation that is out finding direct employment with a campaign.
David Stafford Reade and Andy Garakhani would not be able to run campaigns and participate in the usual independent expenditures at the same time. Neither had done General Consulting for partisan races during the time they were employed by the leadership drill.
Reade is also running a county supervisor campaign in Placer County, this is unfamiliar territory for him. (BTW- I hope his candidate is successful) The evidence keeps piling up suggesting that the “Munger money” is a thing of the past.
Luis Buhler used to run drills for the left of the party years ago as a volunteer, then he got paid to do so out of the Munger operation. I guess it is now back to the future as Luis is making his own phone calls to gather support for retaining Prop 14.
I am of the opinion that the straw that broke the camel’s back regarding the Munger Largess was the #capandtraitor drill. I had been told by several that they had seen a sea change in Mr. Munger’s approach and had heard that Mr. Munger was experiencing resistance on a personal level. I can not speak to Mr. Munger’s spirit, soul or thought process – but I can look on the surface and see that a reasonable, thoughtful and intelligent man would asses the results of what he has done over the last 6 years and ask some very real and thoughtful questions about it. There is no way Mr. Munger ever dreamed he’d become public enemy #1 in his own party.
The cap and trade drill saw a fracture in the moderate side of the GOP, with the wholesale revolt of 3/4 of the GOP post 2016 against Cap and Trade. The grassroots overwhelmed the lobbyists, donors, establishment, etc. and semi-ousted Chad Mayes as a petrified and fractured Assembly GOP Caucus could not finish the job.
Since Mr. Munger’s vast resources had been deployed to settle personal scores of some who were formerly on his payroll and in other cases specifically and ideologically against Conservatives, the list of enraged people is legion. Mr. Buhler is reputed to have been buttressing the arguments of the CA GOP Board Members who stood against the anti-Chad Mayes Resolution. Mr. Buhler was reputed to have attempted to interfere with more than one county’s attempt to adopt an anti-Chad Mayes Resolution. There is no way Charles wanted to be a part of so much bloodletting. There is no way Mr. Munger is happy with the results of his expenditures which I estimate as being $50 million on the aggregate now.
Mr. Munger’s Money ultimately elected the necessary Republican votes, at the expense of conservative candidates who were shredded, to pass Cap and Trade. This is the largest tax increase in California’s history (if you count fees as taxes, if you don’t, it is the second largest and the largest batch of fee increases ever). This bred the most widespread grassroots revolt within CAGOP Ranks since we have to recall three members of the legislature in the mid 1990’s to gain a fleeting majority in the Assembly because Republicans kept cutting deals with the democrat minority to get themselves elected speaker.
20 years ago when I first joined in CAGOP Politics and I joined a group I was later expelled from for life, I was told that “the Moderates” in the CA GOP would not stop until the entire platform of the GOP was shredded. Save for the time that Connie Conway was Assembly Leader, 100% of the time when democrats needed a budget or tax increase vote, there were always able to find an unprincipled establishment Republican to give them what they needed. I watched Pro-Life, Pro-Family, Pro-Ethics, Pro-Gun and on down the line get shredded, watered down or completely discarded in the name of fabled polling showing adopting democrat positions was the way to the promised land.
I’ll repeat what I said, I like Charles Munger on a personal level, and I write this knowing 100% that I was on the receiving end of $100k of his money spent in Placer County in 2012 that resulted in me losing my seat on the County Cent Com by 38 votes. I am one of many that should have a personal axe to grind with him.
Luis Buhler has bragged to people about me getting unseated, but never Charles.
Charles wrote the checks, but the crew that influenced him have had a huge comeuppance in the last few months. A lot of people made a lot of money off of Mr. Munger while hurting a lot of other people in the process. It looks like those days are over. If Conservatives can regroup and figure out how to collaborate for a common cause, we can pick up the shattered pieces of our party and accomplish something again. Conservatives proved that even after being hunted from one end of the state to another that they could still win against the establishment.
I do wish Mr. Munger well. I hope he finds some excellent charitable endeavors to invest in, I remember him telling me about his home church that he goes to, maybe there is something there for him.
The 2018 primary is going to be a mess. It is my educated guess that it is going to be back to 1960’s style grassroots campaigning with a twist of the election fraud enabling bills like being able to harvest ballots, same-day register and dumping absentee ballots in the mail on election day… but the massive money that was almost 100% against Conservatives likely will not be there.