Newsletter: Essential Politics: It’s all about the money, money, money


I’m Christina Bellantoni, your Essential Politics host for Back to the Future Day.

It’s not often we get to report on what’s being said to wealthy donors behind closed doors.

But Seema Mehta got some details from Jeb Bush’s Newport Beach fund-raiser at the bayfront Lido Isle home of Andrew Littlefair, a former Reagan staffer who is the president of a natural gas company, and his wife, Karen. Mehta reports that he told the more than 50 donors in the room that the Republican Party is at a "crossroads" and must either embrace an optimistic vision for the nation’s future that is personified by his campaign, or trundle down a pessimistic path offered by Republican rival Donald Trump. Read her story to learn how Bush describes how he differs from Trump on foreign policy.

We’ve also been reporting about where celebrities stand on the presidential candidates.

On Aug. 10, Sarah Silverman urged a crowd of 27,500 people at a rally in Los Angeles to join her in supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying, "His moral compass and sense of values inspires me."

The comedian didn’t mention that earlier in the year she gave the $2,700 maximum donation to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Silverman was among the artists appearing on a long Sanders endorsement list last month, but we’ve noticed her name does not appear in the Federal Election Commission database as opening her wallet for the self-described Democratic socialist. It is not her first foray into politics — she has donated several times to Minnesota Sen. Al Franken.

I asked her reps if she will be donating to Sanders, and if she would back Clinton should her candidate not make it to the general election. They did not respond to requests for comment.

Finally, did you know Clinton has a political action committee of educators behind her?

Joy Resmovits obtained an invitation for a "meet and greet" from a group describing itself as a PAC "supporting the education vision" of Clinton. America’s Teachers is hosting a "community discussion" on education at the office of Propper Daley in Los Angeles Wednesday. The firm’s co-president is Mark Daley, who worked for Clinton’s campaign in 2008.

Appearing at the event are Steve Barr, the chairman of California Democrats for Education Reform, founder of the Green Dot Public Schools charter school chain and CEO of the Future is Now education nonprofit; Propper Daley co-president Greg Propper, and former Democratic National Committee Chairman and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Also listed on the invitation are Naveed Amalfard and Luke Villalobos from America’s Teachers.


Sarah Wire reports that Democratic freshman class president Rep. Ted Lieu (Torrance) and a team of congressmen will challenge several members of the Washington press corps Wednesday night in the "Politicians vs. Press" Spelling Bee.

The competition, moderated by the Scripps National Spelling Bee, takes place at the National Press Club in Washington. Follow along.


-- Wire tracked Rep. Mike Honda as he met with "clock kid" Ahmer Mohamed Tuesday in Washington. Read what Honda had to say about Silicon Valley and racial profiling.

-- California's senators joined fellow Democrats Tuesday to block legislation that would have withheld some federal funding from cities that shield residents from federal immigration officials.

-- How did Black Lives Matter became a thorn in the side of L.A. leaders? Shelby Grad explains here. And Matt Pearce offers a timeline with photos to examine if it’s a movement or an organization.

-- Opponents of the new assisted suicide law in California have been cleared to collect signatures for a referendum to repeal it, Melanie Mason reports.

-- Vice President Joe Biden is telling a different story about the Osama bin Laden raid.

-- Lisa Mascaro has the latest on Rep. Paul Ryan and the House leadership races.

-- Evan Halper and Mike Memoli tee up Clinton’s scheduled Thursday testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.


I goofed on Anthony Rendon's title in yesterday's Essential Politics. He is the incoming Assembly speaker.

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