Charles Munger gives $2 million to influence Assembly races

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Charles Munger Jr. made headlines this week when he dumped $22 million into a campaign account set up to boost Proposition 32 and oppose Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax plan, Proposition 30.

His political interests don’t end there.

The Stanford physicist and GOP activist has given an additional $2 million to another political action committee this year to help Republican candidates in a handful of Assembly races.


The group, Spirit of Democracy California, supported several GOP candidates in the June primary who bucked conservative orthodoxy and refused to sign no-tax pledges. One of the few to emerge was Peter Tateishi, who is competing for a swing seat in the Sacramento suburbs.

According to records filed with the secretary of state’s office, the Munger-backed political action committee spent $270,000 this week on TV air time and production costs to support Tateishi, who is chief of staff to Republican Rep. Dan Lungren. Tateishi is facing Democrat Ken Cooley, a legislative aide and Rancho Cordova councilman.

Also receiving support from the Spirit of Democracy group is Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Rocklin), who is running against Andy Pugno, the author of Proposition 8, in a newly drawn and deeply red Assembly district.

Munger contributed $800,000 to the political action committee last week, state records show.


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--Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento