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Lieu Wants Transparency—Let's See Through Him

State Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) wants to infuse a greater degree of transparency on political contributions to SuperPacs. Some transparency into his campaign donors also deserves greater scrutiny.

State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-South Bay) wants more transparency from in-state political donations for Super PACs. In Senate Bills 2 and 3, Lieu proposes that the state would levy penalties for failure to disclose campaign contributions. The bills would require greater disclosure on mass mailings, too, including those from nonprofits. A chief motivator for this cause, Lieu highlights the “Yes on Prop 32” campaign, in which an out-of-state interest  funded the campaign to end the pilfering of employee paychecks for union dues to fund the candidates, causes, and campaigns of their choosing, whether the employees supported them or not.

“It’s absurd to allow unlimited campaign donations to super PACs without requiring the donors to reveal themselves,” one Venice activist claims, supporting Lieu. The statement begs the question: With all due respect, why is it so bad?  Does it really matter who sends us all of those mass mailings? Aside from the forestries depleted with such inane, gag-inducing promotions, the only one who should be grumbling is the garbage man because he has to haul so much to the landfill. Then again, if he gets overtime for taking out so much trash, all power to him.

For the record, Citizens United was the right decision, one which opened the flood-gates of political donations to feckless saturation, exposing once and for all the declining power of money in politics, at least when it comes to elections. Shame on President Obama for chiding the Supreme Court during his state of the Union speech, and right before the Justices before their very eyes. This country just witnessed a Presidential election which burned through $2 billion dollars from both sides, and this country and the is more sharply divided than ever. Money is buying less and less in terms of votes.

Instead of transparency at election time, the voters deserve to see more transparency when it comes to who funds our elected officials’ campaigns and how our government spends the taxpayer’s dollars. I would like to see into the minds of our leaders and understand why legislators like Senator Lieu claim progress over a “mere” $1.5 billion budget deficit, covering up Sacramento's ongoing budget short falls with rosy projections despite the declining number of wealthy people leaving California. The state is losing an average of five businesses a week, and the legislature has done nothing to ease the taxation, regulation, or government frustration which drives away commerce.

I would like to see into the heart of the Assemblymembers who killed SB 1530, a bill which would have permitted greater transparency for schools and the districts which supervise them to remove predatory teachers from the classroom. I would like to know what the legislators in Sacramento, and for that matter the mind of our Governor Jerry Brown, for pushing a bullet train which is shooting through  funding that this state does not have; and on top of that, the busted Cap and Trade program, which is busting a "cap" on trade, too.

Forget about full disclosure of political donations to SuperPacsor the misappropriation of taxpayer dollars. Why doesn’t Senator Lieu disabuse himself of his own political contributions? According to Maplight.org, Senator Lieu receives 89% of his dollars from interests outside of his district, with more than half from Sacramento. The last time I checked, he was representing the South Bay. The vast majority of his funds come from union interests, with the Service International  Employee Union (SEIU) topping off with $34,800, followed by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in a close second.

Those two unions served their own interests at the expense of Southland residents, including Mr. Lieu’s constituents in the South Bay. The SEIU bolstered weak union protests at LAX and in front of Wal-Mart. Of course, there was the “crippling strike” at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Lieu gets campaign money, the unions get a raise (or at least they get to raise hell in the streets), and the rest of us are left picking up the tab or making up for lost time. Has Senator Lieu been receiving donations from Occupy Everywhere, as well?

Money cannot buy the vote of the residents in the South Bay, but is money buying his vote in Sacramento? Lieu's colleague in the Assembly, Betsy Butler of Marina Del Rey, lost her seat by a narrow margin in part because she helped kill SB 1530. The California Teachers Association was pulling her strings, apparently. Lo and behold, the CTA has dropped some money in his warchest, too. Judging by Lieu's record, campaign contributions should give us reason to suspect his allegiance to voters in the South Bay. The senator should prove his own transparency by giving back all that union money.

Show us how transparent you are, Senator Lieu. Do what Independent Congressional candidate Bill Bloomfield did, and refuse any corporate or union donations first, then rely on private donations, and afterwards demand transparency for every other interest. I don't see anything wrong with that. Do you?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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