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Insurance Fight’s Cost May Top Forecast, Reports Show

Times Staff Writer

The latest contribution and spending reports filed in the insurance initiative fight showed Thursday that expenditures are likely to be even higher than expected in what is already the most expensive campaign in state history.

Reports filed by the campaign for Proposition 100, a trial lawyers-backed initiative to roll back rates for good drivers and establish rate regulation, show that through Sept. 30, $9,665,765 had been raised for what the campaign earlier had predicted would be about an $8-million campaign.

With more than a month to go until the election, the Proposition 100 campaign has already spent $9,422,542, lending some credence to speculation from the opposition that spending for this initiative might approach $15 million.

Of the amount raised, at least $6,850,830, or about 71%, came from the political action committee of the California Trial Lawyers Assn., individual lawyers and law firms. Other major contributions came from the banking industry, medical clinics and chiropractors. Relatively little came from consumer groups that also support the initiative.

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The Proposition 100 and 103 campaigns contend that their archrival, the insurance industry, plans to spend even more than the $43 million previously announced in pushing for passage of Proposition 104, which would establish a no-fault insurance system, and Proposition 106, which would slash lawyers’ contingency fees.

However, the main insurance industry campaign spending reports due this week were not available Thursday. A campaign spokesman said they were “in the mail” to the secretary of state.

Two relatively small filings from groups supporting the industry’s negative campaign to stop Propositions 100 and 103 arrived at the secretary of state’s office here Thursday afternoon. They totaled $4,140,091. Filings last July 22 from the industry showing that its main committee had already raised more than $17.6 million.

In another report that was released from the relatively low-budget Proposition 103 campaign, an initiative backed by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, total contributions were listed at $1,568,608 and expenditures at $2,213,311. This campaign listed unpaid bills of $792,383, indicating it is badly in debt.

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Yet even this campaign has already exceeded total spending predictions made earlier by its backers.

The campaign for a fifth insurance initiative, Proposition 101, backed by Coastal Insurance Co. executive Harry Miller, said its latest contribution and spending reports would be made available today.

The reports filed by Proposition 100 listed three separate donations from lawyers or law firms of about $100,000 each and contributions of at least $25,000 from 32 individual lawyers or firms.

The political action committee of the California Trial Lawyers Assn. gave $2,934,444, the California Bankers Assn. gave $597,658 and the political action committee of the California chiropractors gave $498,357.

Proposition 100 would protect lawyers’ contingency fees and preempt the insurance industry’s no-fault proposal that would deprive the trial lawyers of much income. Proposition 100 would also allow the banks into the insurance business and protect insurance payments for chiropractic care.

Among the major gifts from lawyers, mainly those handling the personal injury cases that would be adversely affected by passage of a no-fault law, were $100,000 from Indio attorney Thomas T. Anderson; $100,000 from Moreno Valley attorneys Lawrence Doiron and Melanie Hawkins; $100,275 from the Los Angeles law firm of Green, O’Reilly; $85,000 from the East Bay law firm of Gwilliam & Ivary, and $75,000 from the San Diego law firm of Casey, Gerry, Casey, Westbrook, Reed & Hughes.

San Francisco attorney Melvin Belli gave $50,000 to the campaign and other large contributions included $37,000 from Torrance attorney Lawrence Booth; $35,000 from the Los Angeles law firm of Agnew & Brusavich; $35,000 from the Beverly Hills law firm of Contarino, Hutchinson & Cherin; $35,000 from Monterey attorney Thomas J. Dunnion; $50,000 from Los Angeles attorney Ian Herzog; $53,000 from the North Hollywood law firm of Hurley, Grassini & Winkle; $60,000 from the San Diego law firm of Thorsnes, Bartoletta, McGuire & Padilla; $40,000 from the Century City law firm of Magana, Cathcart, McCarthy & Perry; $50,000 from Los Angeles attorney Michael J. Piuze, and $41,500 from the Wilmington law firm of Silver, McWilliams, Stolpman, Mandel & Katzman.

Two banks, Security Pacific and First Los Angeles, gave $24,581 and $35,000 to the Proposition 100 campaign respectively, and the National Medical Group of Long Beach gave $38,000. Contributions from individual chiropractors usually totaled only a few hundred dollars.

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Atty. Gen. John K. Van de Kamp’s campaign committee has loaned the campaign $58,930.

By contrast with Proposition 100, individual contributions to Nader’s Proposition 103 campaign were small. Women For, a Westside political group, gave $3,000, the Templar Medical Clinic of San Gabriel gave $1,000, writer and editor Norman Cousins gave $1,000 and a small number of attorneys gave $1,000 each.

Without substantial insurer or trial lawyer money, the Proposition 103 campaign has been struggling to make ends meet, living mainly off loans and unpaid bills from its campaign adviser, Bill Zimmerman of Santa Monica. Zimmerman and New York philanthropist Joshua Mailman have both loaned the campaign $60,000.


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