Delaine Goes Corporate Free

Eastin Goes Corporate Free

Delaine Eastin, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the first non-wealthy woman to run a competitive race for Governor of California is joining the growing tide of democratic candidates around the country and declining corporate donations, known as “corporate free”. This includes corporate PACS and contributions from corporate lobbyists.

“Our campaign finance system is a disaster, and Californians are sick and tired of having the best candidates money can buy,” Eastin stated.

According to polling, over 80% of Americans: Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike, believe that money has too much influence in political campaigns.

Eastin has been a longtime supporter of Common Cause and People for the American Way and experienced first hand the threat of big money on politics during her re-election campaign for State Superintendent in 1998.

Two weeks before the November election, David Packard donated $500,000 to the campaign of Delaine’s opponent. At the time, it was the largest contribution ever made to a California politician. He was joined by Howard Ahmanson from Home Savings who donated $225,000 and John Walton of Walmart who kicked in $55,000. Three other wealthy corporate moguls brought the total contribution to over one million dollars.

The money was spent to attack Eastin as a liberal, for having a “gay agenda” because she proudly touted endorsements from LGBTQ organizations, and for being a strong supporter of bilingual education.  It went to the campaign of a candidate that the Sacramento Bee characterized as “…not remotely qualified to hold this office”.

“They thought they could take me out, but we fought back with a lot of small dollar donors, and I won.” Eastin shared.

Since 1998, the influence of money on politics and politicians has grown exponentially.

“My dad always told me that you might as well shoot a dog as give it a bad name,” Eastin said. “California has the highest effective poverty rate in the country. People are understandably cynical. They want money out of politics. I support public funding of campaigns, but in the meantime, I am going entirely corporate free, and returning donations that don't meet this pledge, because it is the right thing to do. I am also continuing my pledge not to take money from Big Oil, Tobacco or the Pharmaceutical Industry.