It’s not just big oil with big money in the game.
True, most of the money backing Proposition 23 on California’s November ballot has come from two big oil refiners, both headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. But the opposition has some high rollers in the game, as well. High-profile venture capitalists and tech investors have lined up against the measure with open wallets. In fact, a tally released this week by the California Fair Political Practices Commission reveals that opponents of Prop 23 are outspending proponents by almost a two-to-one margin. According to the Commission, ten different committees have marshaled more than $13 million to defeat the measure, “mainly from individuals.”
Climate Watch producer Gretchen Weber mapped the major money trail for both sides. This map includes only those funders with contributions of $100,000 or more, as of October 6th. Both sides have received numerous smaller contributions:
View Top California Proposition 23 Donors: Yes and No in a larger map
Funding for the “Yes-on-23” campaign is dominated by two large oil refiners, Valero and Tesoro Corporations. Both companies maintain major refining operations in California. Since this map was published, Marathon Oil of Findlay, Ohio, posted a $500,000 donation in support of the measure.
As for the “No” campaign, most major money trails seem to lead back to Silicon Valley, highlighted with such names as Schmidt (Google), Packard (H-P) and Doerr (venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins). According to filings with the California Secreatry of State, investment banker Tom Steyer, co-chair of the “No” campaign, has ponied up $5 million, more than the largest single oil company contribution supporting Prop 23.
If passed, Prop 23 would suspend California’s greenhouse gas regulations until the state’s unemployment rate fell to 5.5% or less, for twelve months. That’s a drop of nearly seven percentage points from the current rate.
Hear Rachael Myrow’s radio feature on Prop 23 at The California Report.