The Sad Cases of Joel Fox and the Favorite Son


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen the California Fair Political Practice commission announced that Joel Fox’s Small Business Action Committee’s PAC had “disgorged” $300,000 of the $4.08 million and $11 million in “dark money” contributions made to the SBAC and California Future Fund (CFF) in 2012, we wondered whether the phony SBAC had finally outfoxed itself.

Alas, while it looks like Fox had to cough up the funds his PAC had left after serving as a conduit for about $15 million in funding against Prop. 30 and for Prop. 32, the sneaky Mr. Fox could just close down the SBAC PAC (which is responsible for the rest of the debt) and start up a new PAC with another name and no overhanging obligation to repay California.

Foxy notes that the $300,000 paid by the SBAC PAC was not actually a fine and that the FPPC said his PAC “did nothing wrong, that we cooperated and did our due diligence when we received the funds.”  Nor, he still contends, did he know that the funds he laundered through his PAC were “tainted.”

Well, the FPPC may not have been able to prove any wrongdoing by the sly Mr. Fox, but we find it hard to believe that he thought the Center to Protect Patient Rights and Americas for Responsible Leadership were just a couple of small business outfits with a deep and abiding interest in the welfare of the people of California.

While he may be underhanded, shifty and sneaky, Joel Fox is not naive. Will he just start up a new PAC that will obviate his obligation to repay California the funds he laundered for big business interests? “We could. No plans for that now. FPPC is aware,” Fox told us in an email.

“The PAC that received the funds will not be involved in future campaigns but SBAC will still be around,” Fox told us.

Too bad.

Jerry BrownFavorite Son Stupidity

Meanwhile, there’s a rump caucus out there – headed by some horses asses – suggesting that Gov. Jerry Brown ought to run as a favorite son candidate for president in the California primary.

This is a phenomenally stupid idea. As we explained a while ago (and as Brown himself later confirmed), the governor will not be running for president in 2016. So what’s to be gained for Brown or for California by pissing off Bill and Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democratic Party?

One numbskull argument is that Brown should “retain his option to move in additional directions should events make that advisable.” Whatever that means. What would Brown want to leverage at the Democratic National Convention? A better speaking slot? A plank in the useless platform? Would he hold onto his votes until he was sure the California delegation had nice hotel accommodations? Or that certain bloggers had really great credentials?

Of course, Gandalf may be tempted because his late father, Gov. Pat Brown, placed his name on the ballot as a favorite son in several presidential elections back before national campaigns when the maneuver was more common. But it would not go well for Jerry (and it would suggest a lack of confidence in the Democratic nominee) if he were to lose California to Clinton (or another actual candidate) as his father did when he lost the 1952 Democratic primaries to Estes Kefauver in 65-10%.

Better to concentrate on governing, winning support for state water distribution plans and high-speed rail than to throw in with a coven of malcontent troublemakers – we name no names — who appear willing to do anything to keep Hillary from winning the White House.

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  1. avatar tegrat says:

    We need more reps like Estes Kefauver, that’s for sure!

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