Voters reject Proposition 32, AP says

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Proposition 32 failed Wednesday morning, according to the Associated Press.

The initiative was created to bar unions and corporations from using payroll deductions to raise money for political campaigns, as well as to prohibit them from making candidate contributions.

Backers of the measure billed it as campaign finance reform, calling it an even-handed effort intended to curb the influence of special interests. Opponents cast the proposal as a deceptive attempt to hobble organized labor.


Unions argued that payroll deduction is their primary fundraising tool; businesses typically tap executive checkbooks and company treasuries. They also said Proposition 32 was written to exempt certain businesses from the new restrictions.

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The largest single backer of the initiative was Charles Munger Jr., a Republican activist and son of the Berkshire Hathaway executive. He gave more than $34 million to a committee dedicated to passing Proposition 32 and defeating Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure, Proposition 30.

Both sides blanketed the airwaves, making Proposition 32 the most expensive contest on the November ballot. Unions alone raised more than $63 million to fight it.

-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento