The Jeb Bush Super PAC? Not Really.

The news that Jeb Bush’s official presidential campaign account is running out of money may have been taken as bad news by some in the Republican Party.

They have been concerned about the surprising rise of outsider Donald Trump, while at the same time the expected GOP pack leader, Bush, has been unable to gain even half as much support in the national polls as compared to top dog Trump. And the concern of so-called “establishment” Republicans was likely only compounded when it was just disclosed that three key, seasoned Bush fundraising operatives have departed the campaign.

“Troubling Signs” is how Politico headlined the news of the recent Bush campaign personnel changes. There was some uncertainty over whether the fundraisers had resigned or were let go, but it was clear that Bush’s official campaign is having serious problems raising enough of its own money in the wake of the Trump juggernaut.

The Bush campaign is clearly going through a round of belt-tightening as Trump continues to rise in the polls. According to the New York Times, just before the three fundraisers made their departure, the Bush campaign had gone through an additional round of staff and salary reductions.

Bush supporters have minimized the apparent growing financial problems of Jeb’s presidential campaign. They say there is plenty of pro-Bush campaign money in the bank.

Politico observes that “Bush’s Super PAC,” which must be legally independent of the official campaign, has had “massive success raising money.” According to Breitbart, “Bush’s Super PAC,” the Right to Rise PAC, raised $103 million in the first six months of 2015, while Bush’s official campaign raised $11 million. The “Bush Super PAC” success in fundraising has even inspired catcalls from billionaire Trump, who has charged that Jeb is hardly independent of the many wealthy donors who have given to it, calling Jeb a “puppet” of its donors during a speech at the Iowa State Fair.

Yet as Jeb’s official campaign fundraising and spending appears to be in some degree of turmoil, a key point missing from news reports about the well-funded independent “Bush Super PAC,” that Bush supporters are relying on, is the word “independent.”

Super PACs are a fairly recent phenomena, and an outgrowth of a string of federal court decisions that establish that the Federal Election Commission’s former restrictions on the amount of money and sources of campaign finances to candidate committees cannot be extended to so-called “independent expenditures.”

In return for maintaining independence from an official campaign of a candidate, a Super PAC is allowed to collect contributions in excess of the limits on contribution amounts imposed by the FEC on official campaigns, and can raise funds from sources that are otherwise prohibited by the FEC, such as corporations and unions. But the Super PAC must operate independently from the candidates it chooses to support.

The truth is, the “Right to Rise” PAC is not Jeb Bush’s PAC. Rather, it is an independent political committee of organizers and donors who, for the time being, are Jeb Bush supporters. All it takes to create a Super PAC like “Right to Rise” is to file a simple Statement of Organization, FEC Form 1, under a cover letter that promises the following to the FEC:

“This committee intends to make unlimited independent expenditures, and consistent with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision in SpeechNow v. FEC, it therefore intends to raise funds in unlimited amounts. This committee will not use those funds to make contributions, whether direct, in-kind, or via coordinated communications, to federal candidates or committees.”

Thus, “Right to Rise” really isn’t Jeb Bush’s Super PAC. It is rather an independent expenditure committee of operatives and donors that Trump sarcastically refers to as the “puppeteers” who favor Bush right now. And since it is indeed legally independent of Jeb Bush, it is not legally committed to support him. An amount like $103 million is not a sum to be invested unwisely.

The “Right to Rise” PAC could decide to support or oppose any of the 17 candidates currently running for the GOP nomination, not just Bush. Should Bush continue to fail to gain traction in the polls, if his support further erodes, and as the primary process proceeds to what some political veterans are suggesting will be a “brokered convention,” this observer suggests that six months from now, the “Right to Rise” PAC may not continue to be referred to as the “Bush Super PAC” in the press.

James V. Lacy, a frequent guest on Fox Business News Channel’s Varney & Company, is editor of “Taxifornia 2016: 14 Essays on the Future of California.”

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

High Gas And Egg Prices Caused By Liberal Policies Are Crushing California’s Poor

Eggs have long been understood to be an inexpensive yet highly nutritious food that helps stretch the family budget. But eggs aren’t so cheap in California anymore, and buying them is making poor people poorer in the state, thanks to liberal Democrats. In fact, California egg prices have soared 150% in the last year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, up from $1.46 a dozen in May 2014 to $3.61 today. The Safeway in the Diamond Heights district of San Francisco is charging $5.99 a dozen now. This spike in egg prices is having the biggest negative effect on California’s lowest wage earners, who are seeing their already meager disposable incomes dwindle in the face of the state’s ever increasing cost of living, which is only being driven higher and higher by the policies enacted by liberal Democrats who control the state. Egg prices have been driven up, in no small part, by the enactment of Proposition 2, which was promoted by liberal elites and now requires all eggs in California to be produced only at farms where the chickens can move around freely. California’s law requires that farms ensure hens have almost twice the space required for sale in the country’s other 49 states, and the result is fewer farms able to sell in California and significantly higher costs to California’s consumers. The poor are of course hurt the most.

And at the same time as the price of eggs are going through the roof, liberal policies have made California’s gasoline the most expensive in the nation. Californians already pay among the highest gas taxes at the pump in the country, about 62 cents a gallon. Add to that the additional cost, as a result of our unique environmental laws, that require our gas be specially manufactured to reduce emissions. In mid-August, the average price for a gallon of regular gas nationwide was $2.61; but in California, the average price was $3.63, if you could find it! Low income wage earners often depend upon transportation to find employment and to keep their jobs. One study showed that in the Central Valley, poorer residents can spend as much as 10% of their disposable income just on gasoline. Yet while emissions in Los Angeles caused by automobiles have been reduced by over 98%, and the air is just getting cleaner as more low emission vehicles enter the market, California’s expensive and outmoded environmental rules keep the cost of gasoline at the highest in the nation–and the poor suffer the most.

California’s high cost of living has only been made worse by the tax policies of the liberal Democrats in control. Our state sales tax is the highest in the nation, which raises the cost of most every retail transaction. The high cost of living in the state has made it the poorest in the nation according to the Census Bureau, with 24% of Californians living at or below the poverty line.

But liberal Democrats just continue to enact policies that make living in California more expensive. Now, liberals are seeking to crush California’s poor even more. In Sacramento, rather than rearrange spending priorities, liberal Democrats are planning to raise the gas tax another 12 cents a gallon, and raise vehicle licensing fees as well. They intend to raise property taxes on commercial real estate too, which will make renting an apartment more expensive. These policies will drive up the cost of living even more, and make our state’s low income wage earners even poorer. When government pushes the cost of food, transportation, and housing to such an extreme that poverty only worsens, it means other bad things are going to happen in the state, like rising violent and property crime rates; and we all ought to start taking notice.

James V. Lacy is principal author and editor of the new book, “Taxifornia 2016: 14 Essays on the Future of California,” now available at the CreateSpace eStore here:, and at Amazon and other outlets after Labor Day.

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Five Ways San Francisco Has Descended Into A Liberal Disaster

The City by the Bay is in a state of progressive dysfunction.

Liberal Democrats have secured total control of the city’s elected offices. Being a Democrat isn’t enough anymore. In a city where there are more than six Democrats for every Republican, political campaigns are decided by which candidate is the true progressive.

With no evil capitalists or conservative Republicans to thwart their plans, San Francisco should be a socialist utopia. Income inequality solved. Affordable housing provided to all. Criminals rehabilitated. Women guaranteed equal protection under the law.

Yet, the city hasn’t made much “progress” on much of anything. Here’s a progress report on every liberal’s pet issues.

Income Inequality

A recent study by a Bay Area consulting group found the Bay Area is home to the nation’s worst income inequality. The middle class no longer exists in the Bay Area. The top 20 percent of households make $263,000 more than the poorest 20 percent of households.

“That’s 50 percent higher than the gap nationwide,” Jon Haveman, author of the study, recently told KQED. The Bay Area’s middle class is disappearing as a result of the high cost of living and exorbitant housing process, which are forcing people to leave the area.

While middle class private sector workers have been squeezed, public sector employees have reaped the benefits of electing liberal Democrats to state and local offices. More than 10,000 public employees in San Francisco earn six-figure salaries. More than a third of the city’s public workforce earns at least $100,000 in total compensation. Eighty-four city employees earn in excess of $250,000 each year in total compensation.

Affordable Housing

This spring, the average rent in San Francisco hit a record high of $3,458 per month. Even if you’re willing to cram into a tiny studio, you’ll pay more than $2,000 per month. Thanks to liberal policies restricting new developments, the region has learned what happens when supply remains constant and demand increases.

Many Bay Area residents have turned to the sharing economy to make ends meet by renting out a spare bedroom. But, that could soon end as the city seeks to criminalize the sharing economy. This November, voters will consider an initiative that limits short-term rentals, bans in-law unit rentals, and allows citizens to police their neighbors with lawsuits to enforce the anti-Airbnb measure.


In 2004, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom promised a “Ten Year Plan to Abolish Chronic Homelessness.”

How’d it work out? San Francisco taxpayers have spent roughly $1.5 billion over the past decade on leftist solutions to the city’s chronic homeless problem. At a cost of roughly $77,000 per homeless person, the city has seen its problem get worse.

“The homeless population is up 3 percent since 2005,” an in-depth analysis by the San Francisco Chronicle found. “In one of the richest cities in the world, an estimated 2,200 public school students lack permanent homes.”


The Bay Area’s crime problem is epitomized by the tragic Pier 14 murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department went to the trouble (and expense) of bringing a five-time deported illegal immigrant felon out of a federal prison in Southern California to free him in San Francisco. How could the Sheriff’s Department be so incompetent, and so conflicted?

Progressives see the justice system as inherently biased against people of color. Criminals aren’t to be held accountable for their actions because they’re victims, too.

“California should be a leader in enlightened criminal justice,” San Francisco lawmaker Tom Ammiano, the longtime chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, explained of his philosophy to crime.

Women’s Issues

When San Francisco’s Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi isn’t busy letting illegal immigrant felons out of jail, he’s busy dealing with his own legal problems. The co-founder of the Green Party, who became a Democrat in 2010, was charged with domestic violence, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness in a legal proceeding, and plead guilty to one count of false imprisonment after a New Year’s Eve altercation with his wife in 2011.

He was able to retain his office even though pleading guilty to a crime, because the San Francisco Board of Supervisors could only muster seven of its 11 members to remove him from office. Liberals are right about the “war on women,” just wrong about who is leading it.

James V. Lacy, a frequent guest of Fox Business News Channel’s “Varney & Company,” is the editor of the forthcoming book, “Taxifornia 2016: 14 Essays on the Future of California.” Available at in the Fall 2015.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

How Will Donald Trump Do In A Meaningful California GOP Primary?

California’s presidential primary election comes at the very end of the selection process – June 7, 2016; and almost always, the national candidates have usually been chosen by then, rendering California’s presidential primary election meaningless. There have been efforts to move the primary to an earlier date, but the tinkering hasn’t seemed to take hold; and we are back to a late primary again this presidential election cycle. California’s Presidential primary has not always been meaningless, however. In 1968, Robert Kennedy won a hard fought Democratic primary election against sitting Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, but was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan immediately after making his victory speech and uttering the words “On to Chicago” (the location of the Democratic Convention) at the old and long gone Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Blvd., near downtown Los Angeles. In 1976, Ronald Reagan was not contested in California by sitting President Gerald Ford; but the primary was not meaningless because of the huge load of delegates Reagan won in the state’s primary (I was one of them), that when combined with a big victory in Texas’ winner-take-all primary, gave Reagan the encouragement to keep up the fight to the convention with just shy of the total number of delegates needed to win the nomination that year.

Today, California’s GOP presidential primary delegates are not exactly distributed “winner take all.” A small portion of the delegates to the Republican National Convention are selected by the candidate who wins the state as a whole, but the majority of delegates are selected by who wins in a Congressional District. And a Democratic-dominated Congressional District, such as Congressional Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s in San Francisco, will send as many delegates to the GOP convention as a Republican-dominated Congressional District, such as Congressional Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s district in Kern County.

I really wonder how Donald Trump will do in a California primary if the Republican Party has not settled on a nominee by next June. Trump has done well in the national polls over the last two weeks, despite what many pundits consider a number of gaffes, and has even taken the lead in a number of polls. His support looks like it may now be peaking at around 20% to 25% of the vote nationally – enough to be at or near the top in the current crowded GOP field of 16 candidates. But we don’t really know what Trump’s support is today in California. Last March, I tested opinions of likely voters in next year’s California Republican primary in my own poll; and Scott Walker walked away with the lead at 20%, followed by Ben Carson with 10.7% and Jeb Bush at 10.5%. But at that point, Trump hardly made a showing, with just less than 1% of the vote matched against 15 other potential candidates.

It seems likely that Trump has greatly lifted his support in California by now. But where is he today in the polls in the Golden State? And if the Republicans are still deadlocked with a load of candidates by next June, could California become the “make-or-break” state for the GOP?

All three major polling organizations in California certainly aren’t helping us with an answer. The USC/LA Times poll has not publicly published a survey of California voters since last April according to their website. The Public Policy Institute of California’s last survey was in May, and it did not include any questions about Presidential candidates. And the venerable Field Poll has not measured California GOP public opinion on a Presidential candidate since last May. Field’s results in May confirmed my own poll’s results two months earlier showing Trump with less than 1% support at that time, with Bush, Rubio and Walker in virtual ties at around 10-11% each.

I think testing Trump’s support in California matters, as I will explain below; and I also think the major polling agencies are intentionally soft-peddling GOP presidential polling not only because of California’s well-known blue state status and late primary, but also because they don’t want to contribute to the Trump road-show. My sense is that Trump has likely captured much of the imagination of California’s “tea-party” voters, those independents and Republicans who can sway around 25% of the GOP vote in a primary. This is the same voter bloc that gave tea-party oriented Gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly a third-place finish with 643,236 votes (14.8% of all candidates in the “open” primary) to Neel Kashkari’s 839,767 votes (19.4%) against Jerry Brown.

Tim Donnelly is no Donald Trump. Yet he really did make an impact capturing a strain of California voters, angered over illegal immigration, with a greatly under-funded campaign. Moreover, highly unreported is the fact that Donnelly was THE leading GOP vote-getter in the Governor’s primary in many counties throughout the state that will be sending delegates to the Republican National Convention. Donnelly did not best Kashkari in all the hard-core conservative southern California counties near the border with Mexico, but he won San Bernardino and Imperial counties; and he scored big in North State counties, around Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s district where dissatisfaction with government runs high, namely Butte, Del Norte, Glenn, Lake, Lassen, Nevada, Trinity, Tehama, Siskiyou, Sierra, Shasta, Plumas, and Modoc. He drew to a tie in the central valley county of Merced, won nearby Mariposa, and took the central valley prize of Kern County (in Congressional Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Congressional District no less); and Donnelly surprisingly even topped Kashkari in a clean-sweep of the state’s top wine country counties of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino. Donnelly beat Kashkari, who was considered the GOP establishment’s candidate, in the central coast counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, and San Benito, the Bay Area counties of Alameda and Contra Costa and even won most of the handful of GOP voters in San Francisco, in Nancy Pelosi’s Congressional District!

Therefore, since California assigns its GOP delegates mostly by who wins in one of the state’s 53 Congressional districts, if Donald Trump was able to capture just the “Tim Donnelly” vote in California, scattered as it is in deep pockets throughout the state, it is quite possible that Trump could emerge from the primary with a huge cache and perhaps even the majority of delegates, even if he narrowly lost the statewide total to a Jeb Bush or Scott Walker. Imagine that number skyrocketing if Trump could put together a better campaign and message than Donnelly did, and with even just 25% of the vote sweep all the state’s delegates in a crowded field. Like Ronald Reagan did in 1976, Trump might surely be encouraged with a big late victory to go on to the Cleveland convention and see his campaign on to whatever ending it has in store there.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Stars And Bars’ Problem

When it comes to the confederate flag, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has smugly added that she “has always” been in favor of taking it down in South Carolina.

Yet as first lady of Arkansas, we heard not a peep of concern about the prominent rebel “stars and bars” symbolism of that southern state’s official flag that flew on her official residence grounds in Little Rock while husband Bill was governor.

And here’s a good question for Hillary today: if she “has always” favored taking down South Carolina’s relic of the Civil War, what about all the same rebel symbolism embodied in her own Arkansas flag that flew on her own official residence lawn? Shouldn’t it also be banned, for the same reasons as in South Carolina, to combat divisiveness?

There is no question that the Arkansas state flag is intended, by its symbols, to “commemorate the Confederate States of America.” In fact, then-Gov. Bill Clinton signed a law in 1987 that says so, designating a special star on the flag for that exact purpose.

Hillary Clinton may have objections to Confederate sympathies in state flags still flying in South Carolina or Mississippi, but what makes Arkansas an exception–and why has she never had anything to say about it?

Hillary, should the state flag of Arkansas, which can be seen as just as offensive to African Americans and other minorities who have been subject to racism as the Confederate battle flag of South Carolina, also be banned? Voters need to know.

Especially in culturally diverse and deeply blue states like California, perplexed voters will need to understand from Hillary Clinton why the South Carolina flag must come down but the Arkansas flag’s Confederate roots draw no comment from her.

California voters are the most unlikely in the nation to understand Hillary’s silence and see honor in the distinction between the “southern valor” that “stars and bars” supporters urge their flags represent in contrast to the general negative perception of slavery and racism more commonly associated with the rebel flag.

These voters are becoming the most diverse ethnic conglomeration in the nation, and include Latinos who now compromise the largest ethnic group in the state at 39 percent, non-Hispanic whites at about 38 percent, and Asians, with over 14 percent of the population. There are two times more Latinos and Asians in California by percentage than in the entire United States. About 7 percent of Californians are black. Overwhelmingly, Californians’ “voting cues” gleaned by the entire state, let alone the 60 percent of the state who represent minority groups who have experienced racism, are simply not connected to some sort of sympathy to the rebel cause when they see a Confederate flag.

In view of the tragedy in Charleston, it is now inescapable that Hillary’s opponents will raise her failure to object and indeed passively embrace the Confederate symbolism in Arkansas as an issue in the campaign. Even deeply blue California, with the most electoral votes in the nation, and its voters, are hardly going to accept a voting cue that the Confederate flag is bad for South Carolina but good for Arkansas just because Hillary Clinton has nothing to say about it.

James V. Lacy, a frequent guest of Fox Business News Channel’s “Varney & Company,” is author of “Taxifornia” which is available at

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth