Spotlight on California

MapLight research on the influence of money and politics in California.

Op Ed: Daniel G. Newman - Break the grip of wealthy interests controlling California's ballot measure system

Joe Belanger/

November 7, 2012—California voters gained the power to place measures on the ballot a century ago to break the grip of wealthy interests controlling government. Initially, the requirement to gather large number of petition signatures ensured that only measures with broad popular support would make it to the ballot.

Now paid signature gatherers qualify any measure, for a price. It's largely wealthy companies and rich individuals who wrote the 11 state measures Californians voted on Tuesday.

Do you have $1 million to spare?

California Ballot Measure Funding Tops $372 Million

November 5, 2012—The campaigns for and against the 11 measures on Tuesday’s California ballot have raised a combined $372 million.

  • The top 20 funders gave 69% of all ballot measure funding.
  • The top 10 funders gave 58% of all funding.
  • The top four individuals gave 34% of the funds, or $128 million.
  • Forty-seven funders giving $1 million or more made up 80% of all funds raised.

Letters from Americans for Responsible Leadership and Center to Protect Patient Rights

Pixel 4 Images/

November 5, 2012—The California Fair Political Practices Commission announced today the source of an $11 million ballot measure contribution from Arizona group Americans for Responsible Leadership. These funds were sent from a group called Americans for Job Security to a second group called The Center to Protect Patient Rights, then sent to Americans for Responsible Leadership.

Voter's Edge, Nonpartisan Guide to Ballot Measures, Expands to CA Counties and Cities

Nov. 1, 2012—MapLight announces the statewide expansion of Voter's Edge, joining forces with partner organizations throughout the California to provide a reliable, nonpartisan source for information about state, county, and city ballot propositions.

CA Prop. 32 Funding: Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deductions - $103.7M Raised

Oct. 18, 2012MapLight Voter's Edge for California profiles the funding behind CA Proposition 32. The proposition, if passed, would prohibit unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes and applies the same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. It also prohibits contributions from unions, corporations, or government contractors to candidates and their committees. A MapLight analysis shows $45.6 million has been raised on the "Yes" side and $58.1 million on the "No" side.