Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

The Big Money in Ballot Initiatives

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The Big Money in Ballot Initiatives

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Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. was found guilty of gender discrimination and is required to pay millions in damages.

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Ballot initiatives are supposed to be a tool of the people. In California, they are a tool only for rich people.

More than $84 million in donations of $100,000 or more has been raised for the nine state-wide initiatives on the November ballot, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission. That's nothing new: In 2006, more than two-thirds of the money donated to initiative campaigns came in amounts of $1 million or more.

One initiative consultant once admitted to me that he didn't bother processing donation checks for less than $10,000. They weren't worth the time.

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