Rep. Scott Peters (D)

There’s just no loyalty these days.

Our intrepid data reporter Joe Yerardi found that all-in-all, an even 100 PACs that contributed to Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray in 2012 are donating to Democratic Congressman Scott Peters this election cycle.

Why? According to one expert, the power of incumbency — the ability to make policy — is driving this mass PAC defection from one party to the other.

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The PACs that switched from Bilbray in 2012 to Peters in 2014 have shelled out at least $364,000 to the Democratic incumbent’s campaign. That’s more than 37 percent of all PAC money Peters has raised so far.

“These PACs know which side their bread is buttered on
and will be loyal to those that will benefit them the most.”
—Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director of
The Center for Responsive Politics

So why does this matter? Because the race in the 52nd congressional district is one of the closest in the nation, and special interests are pouring more than $1.2 million into it.

Check out Joe’s new story here, where you can also search PAC contributions to Bilbray, Peters and DeMaio.

Photo credit: Flickr user Ken Zirkel under a Creative Commons license
Photo credit: Flickr user Ken Zirkel under a Creative Commons license

How to Cancel an Election

San Diego County had a first this year — three of its cities have canceled their fall elections.

The reason? There was only one eligible candidate per open seat in San Marcos, Del Mar and Solana Beach, so the city councils voted to save money and simply appoint the candidates.

In his new story, Leo Castaneda contacted the city clerks for the 17 cities in San Diego County to put these cancellations in perspective and explain exactly how a city can get away with foregoing an election.

Read Leo’s story by clicking here.


Judge To Decide on NCTD lawsuit

A judge who will decide a lawsuit filed by inewsource against the North County Transit District said she will privately review documents that assess the leadership of the transit agency before determining whether they should be made public.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this year in San Diego Superior Court, asks the court to compel NCTD to release documents inewsource considers public under the California Public Records Act.

The documents, known as “the Rady documents,” detail the strengths and weaknesses of more than a dozen senior managers at the public transit agency. Sources familiar with the assessment say it validates inewsource’s reporting over the past 18 months about NCTD’s “vacuum” of knowledge — the result of a high turnover rate among upper management and an alleged culture of intimidation inside the agency.

The transit district refused to release the assessment to inewsource, contending it is a personnel document and exempt from the California Public Records Act.

Read about the proceedings and what’s next here.

Brad Racino was the assistant editor and senior investigative reporter at inewsource. He's a big fan of transparency, whistleblowers and government agencies forgetting to redact key information from FOIA requests. Brad received his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in...