Fuller Rakes in Election Cash

By Published On: October 23, 2014

With many of the lawmakers on the state’s Senate and Assembly energy committees either terming out soon or declining to run for office again, state Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) has apparently become the go-to politician for energy industry campaign contributions. For the reporting period of July 1 through Sept. 30, Fuller’s Senate re-election campaign received a total of $78,000, according to the Secretary of State. More than $12,000 of that amount comes from companies that have a stake in the energy industry. The largest reported industry donation—$3,100—was provided by NextEra Energy, Fuller’s campaign reported Oct. 6 that Sempra Energy donated the second-highest amount at $2,000. Also investing in Fuller’s re-election effort was the political action committee for the California Water Association, which gave $1,500 to her campaign. The California Water Association represents the interests of about 115 California Public Utilities Commission-regulated investor-owned utilities that provide water utility services in the state. Fuller, who first assumed office in December 2010, represents the 18th State Senate District and is the co-chair of the Senate’s Energy, Utilities & Communications committee. She’s trying to win a second and final four-year term in the Senate after having served in the state Assembly from 2006-2010. Among the other energy companies that were listed as donating to her re-election campaign during the most recent reporting period were the Washington DC-based nonprofit trade group the Solar Energy Industries Association; residential solar electricity company Sunrun Inc., and solar energy product manufacturing company SunPower. All contributed $1,000, according to Secretary of State data. Only two other state politicians seeking re-election were reported by the Secretary of State to have received energy industry contributions: Assemblymembers Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) and Ben Hueso (D-San Diego). Patterson, who’s again running to represent the 23rd Assembly District, is vice chair of the Assembly Committee on Utilities & Commerce, while Hueso chairs the Select Committee on California Energy Independence. During the July-September reporting period, Patterson received $80,000 in campaign contributions, but just $3,000 of that was from energy industry companies. Of that amount, $3,000 came from just two entities: NRG Energy, which donated $2,000; and the Solar Energy Industries, which gave $1,000. Hueso, who became a member of the Senate in March 2013, following a special election to fill the 40th District seat after incumbent Juan Vargas was elected to the U.S. Congress, received $63,000 in donations during the reporting period. That included a total of $3,500 from two energy companies: NextEra, which gave $2,000, and Sempra, which contributed $1,500. Among the politicians with energy ties who reportedly did not receive any contributions from industry companies during the reporting period were Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima). Padilla, who represents the 20th Senate District and chairs the Energy, Utilities & Communications committee, terms out later this year, but is currently running for Secretary of State. De León, who chairs the Senate’s Energy Efficiency subcommittee and sits on the Energy Independence subcommittee, is again running to represent District 24. In the Nov. 4 general election, he faces fellow Democrat Peter Choi (D-Los Angeles), who only received about $3,200 in contributions during the reporting period, including none from energy-related companies. Two politicians now sitting on energy committees, Assemblymember Steve Bradford (D-Gardena) who chairs the Utilities & Commerce Committee, and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who leads the Clean Energy Economy subcommittee, are termed out of their current seats and are not currently running for office.

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