A few days ago, the Los Angeles Times reported that Charles Munger Jr. made spurt of political contributions to Republican candidates for Assembly, primarily “sacrificial lambs” in heavily-Democratic districts, to ensure they were able to pay their filing fees and be on the ballot. According to the piece:
Charles Munger Jr., one of California Republicans’ biggest donors, is chipping in some of his wealth to ensure his party has candidates on the ballot in more Assembly districts.
Several Republican candidates received Munger contributions ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, and some of them said the money helped cover the cost of filing to run in this year’s election.
The donations were dispersed right around the filing deadline March 7 and went to candidates in blue districts where most are facing off with Democratic incumbents.
It’s a positive article filled with quotes from grateful quotes from candidates taking Munger’s assistance at face value:
Joe Gardner, a retired policeman running for the second time against Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina), said he met Munger at the recent Republican convention in Burlingame.
“He took an interest in my campaign for the few minutes I talked with him,” Gardner said.
His filing fee was about $850, and he said Munger’s donation “was timely to help pay our fee and also do outreach efforts.”
Sol Jobrack, who works for his local rail commission in the Central Valley and is running against Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), said he reached out to Munger when he began planning his campaign.
“He’s a moderate Republican and I’m a moderate guy,” he said.
Munger followed through with $3,000, which arrived soon after Jobrack paid his filing fee out of his own pocket.
Charles Munger Jr. isn’t running a political charity, and his real interest isn’t ensuring the incumbents in super-Democratic districts have a GOP opponent to clobber this November. Remember: Munger’s goal is to take-over the California Republican Party, wring-out its conservatism and re-shape in his moderate image.
The LA Times missed a key fact: Republican legislative nominees – win or lose – appoints up to 8 members of the California Republican Party central committee.
More importantly, each Republican legislative nominee is automatically a member of the CRP’s platform committee. Although, Munger lost his fight to water down the CRP platform in 2011, but he never gave up on that political project. He is now arranging his order of battle in preparation for a renewed attempt to re-write the CRP platform.
We’ll put it another way: by paying their filing fees, Charles Munger isn’t helping these Assembly candidates – he is helping himself. The bill to each nominee for Munger’s “generosity” will come due when it’s time for them to make their CRP appointments, and you can be sure Munger and his operatives will have very specific “suggestions” for them in that regard.
This is just the latest example of Charles Munger Jr. trying to buy the California Republican Party; in this case, by literally buying seats. It brings up the dilemma that, in our opinion, too many Republicans have refused to face: can California Republicans – as individual candidates or collectively as a party — take advantage of Munger’s financial largesse without mortgaging their political souls to him.
Most, if not all, the various beneficiaries of Munger’s money would probably answer “yes.” Based on what we’ve seen, The Munger Games believes most, if not all, of those people are fooling themselves.
Mark our words: next year, Munger will again fight to water down the state party platform to the philosophical consistency of school cafeteria oatmeal. In 2011, Munger was new on the scene and conservatives were able to defeat him. The big question is, after four years during which many of those people have been taking Munger’s money, will conservatives have the strength of conviction to choose principles over the will of the party paymaster?