De León’s cam­paign fund ex­pands

Ac­count swelled with con­struc­tion in­dus­try do­na­tions af­ter road re­pair plan passed.

Los Angeles Times - - CITY & STATE - By Phil Willon phil.willon@la­ Twit­ter: @philwillon

SACRA­MENTO — Cal­i­for­nia Se­nate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem Kevin de León has been coy about his fu­ture po­lit­i­cal plans but not bash­ful when it comes to rais­ing money for a fu­ture cam­paign.

That in­cludes nearly $100,000 that flowed into his cam­paign ac­count from con­struc­tion and en­gi­neer­ing firms just weeks af­ter Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Leg­is­la­ture ap­proved a $52- bil­lion tax-and-fee plan to re­pair Cal­i­for­nia’s roads.

De León (D-Los An­ge­les) will reach his term limit next year, and his fu­ture has long been the fo­cus of spec­u­la­tion.

Though he has never de­clared his can­di­dacy, he has opened a po­lit­i­cal com­mit­tee for a 2018 cam­paign for Cal­i­for­nia lieu­tenant gover­nor, and that com­mit­tee raked in $1.4 mil­lion last year in po­lit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions, a state cam­paign fi­nance re­port shows.

That haul in­creased his com­mit­tee’s cash-on-hand to $2.8 mil­lion — more than twice as much as any of the can­di­dates who are ac­tively cam­paign­ing for lieu­tenant gover­nor.

De León has said he hasn’t made a de­ci­sion about whether he’ll run. But he has pri­vately given his sup­port­ers a green light to en­dorse state Sen. Ed Her­nan­dez (D-Azusa), a long­time po­lit­i­cal ally, in the race.

“He’s still de­cid­ing and ex­plor­ing all op­tions,” said Courtni Pugh, one of De León’s po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tants. “Ev­ery­thing is still on the ta­ble.”

Along with strong sup­port from labor or­ga­ni­za­tions, De León’s long list of donors in­cludes Los An­ge­les phi­lan­thropists Eli and Edythe Broad, Planned Par­ent­hood or­ga­ni­za­tions, for­mer As­sem­bly Speaker Fabian Núñez and re­new­able en­ergy com­pa­nies.

Af­ter the road re­pair bill passed, De León also re­ceived close to $100,000 from con­struc­tion and en­gi­neer­ing com­pa­nies in late April and early May. De León re­ceived $7,300 do­na­tions from the En­gi­neer­ing and Util­ity Con­trac­tors Assn., Gran­ite Con­struc­tion and a few other con­struc­tion firms.

The con­trac­tors as­so­ci­a­tion was a ma­jor sup­porter of the roads bill and joined the gover­nor, De León and other leg­isla­tive lead­ers at a rally in sup­port of the leg­is­la­tion.

Emily Co­hen, a United Con­trac­tors vice pres­i­dent, said the or­ga­ni­za­tion has been a long­time sup­porter of De León. She said United Con­trac­tors or­ga­nized a fundraiser for the se­na­tor and that he played no role in that ef­fort.

“We’ve sup­ported Kevin for years. We’ve sup­ported a lot of leg­is­la­tors on both sides of the aisle,” she said. “We’ve sup­ported Kevin be­fore there was any kind of bill.”

Pugh also said the do­na­tions came from firms that have sup­ported the se­na­tor in the past.

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