Tom Steyer, president of environmental advocacy organization NextGen Climate, has spent millions to benefit the Democratic Party in the last few election cycles and some have speculated that he may run for governor of California in 2018.
But when he appeared on Chelsea Handler's Netflix talk show last week, the blunt host asked him whether he felt he invested wisely, given the Democrats' losses in 2016: "Do you want your money back, like how do you feel?"
Steyer pointed out success in California, bragging about registering 800,000 people to vote in California. He pointed out that Democrats have super majorities in both houses of the California Legislature.
California officials reacted with defiance Friday to a threat by federal officials to withhold some $20 million in criminal justice grants from the state and its counties as part of the dispute over so-called sanctuary city policies.
“It has become abundantly clear that Atty. Gen. [Jeff] Sessions and the Trump administration are basing their law enforcement policies on principles of white supremacy — not American values,” Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said in a statement. “Their constant and systematic targeting of diverse cities and states goes beyond constitutional norms and will be challenged at every level.”
De León’s statement on “white supremacy” drew an immediate rebuke from Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher of Yuba City.
Nearly half of the money spent by all congressional candidates in the primary election to replace Xavier Becerra was unleashed in the final weeks of the campaign.
From March 16 to March 31, the 24 candidates in the 34th Congressional District race spent $1,285,800, or 44% of the total spent overall in the race so far. The final three days before the April 4 election are not covered in the most recent campaign finance reports.
Robert Lee Ahn and Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, two Democrats who beat the crowded field to advance to a June runoff, spent a large share of that.
In the fast and furious primary campaign in Los Angeles' 34th Congressional District, the crowded field of 24 candidates spent about $2.9 million trying to sway voters, according to campaign financial reports.
In the end, 42,914 voters cast ballots in the race, bringing the average amount spent per vote to $67.97.
Earlier this month, a White House official floated the possibility of negotiations with California to resolve a brewing dispute over vehicle emission rules. The federal government has started the process of rolling them back, while state regulators here are pushing forward with tough pollution-reduction requirements, raising the possibility that automakers would need to meet different standards in different places.
However, California hasn't heard from the Trump administration about beginning talks.
"We haven’t been asked," Mary Nichols, chair of the Air Resources Board, told reporters during a conference on climate change in San Francisco.
The executive director of the state Board of Equalization told legislators Thursday that some board members have acted to reassign staff and resources without following proper approval procedures involving the board's executive staff.
“It has been a pervasive problem,” David Gau said during a hearing of a state Senate budget subcommittee.
He said the agency is in "a crisis mode" since a state audit was released that found tax officials unable to explain decisions that allocated money to the wrong funds and transferred staff to unauthorized jobs.