Earlier this year, following his sub rosa Washington D.C. meetings with the chief Geico lobbyist, we asked the question: Where in the world is state Sen. Joel Anderson, R-38th District? He’s your state senator in case you didn’t know, and he was about as far from Sacramento as possible.
Answering that question is easy this week.
Anderson is at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego hosting the annual American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conference. It’s sold out, by the way, so don’t think about joining it although daily passes cost from $295 to $595.
The controversial ALEC group bills this event as “a three-day gathering of free market leaders,” attracting “more than 2,000 legislators, business leaders and public policy experts who participate in an exchange of ideas” about limiting government.
That ALEC conference is right up Anderson’s alley. That’s who he represents, special interests and large corporate donors. Bringing the 2,000 delegates to San Diego may be the first economic benefit Anderson actually has brought to anywhere near our state senate district. The rest of the time he is in it for himself.
North Korean public relations
Anderson doesn’t represent you or me. He’s not accountable to us. Despite repeated requests by us, and numerous other journalists and news outlets, Anderson never replies. After all, the public and the press are inconveniences, not big donors like Geico who, we all know, has a lot of special interest in Valley Center. D’uh. Not.
Anderson’s approach to PR is kind of like Kim Jong-un and North Korea’s. You can go to Anderson’s “official” website and get these sanitized photo ops of him pretending to meet with constituents or pretending to do something for the district. Actual truth and information? Not so much
Anderson has good reason to duck the press and public. His past is chock-full with campaign finance violations and huge corporate donations that are quite well documented.
Too bad it’s pointless to consider a recall. Career politician that he is, Anderson gets term-limited out of office, finally, at long last at the end of this term.
That doesn’t mean Anderson will be through with politics. No doubt he’ll return to his time-honored work as a lobbyist.
Flunking the political courage test
Anderson flunked the non-profit citizens political education group Project Vote Smart political courage test. This is not a politically biased group either, counting former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford along with Sen. Barry Goldwater and William Proxmire as founding board members in 1986.
Project Vote Smart conducts an annual political courage test measures lawmakers on “each candidate’s willingness to provide citizens with their position on key issues.”
Guess what. “Joel Anderson has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2014 political courage test, despite repeated requests,” Project Vote Smart said. “Joel Anderson is still welcome to submit the test at any time.”
Don’t hold your breath.
Anderson scored what the little boy shot at, nothing. Not only that, he went around bragging about not answering any questions. That’s business as usual for him. He’s only accountable to ALEC and corporate donors, not his so-called constituents who represent more of a hassle than a mission.
So, who does this guy from Alpine represent? Hello good buddy ALEC. He was their legislator of the year. The executive director of the group said Anderson was “instrumental” in bringing its annual convention to America’s Finest City, aside from Valley Center, this week.
ALEC, or the American Legislative Exchange Council, is completely financed by large corporations and private donors, especially representing the oil industry, pharmaceutical and tobacco companies and the billionaire Koch brothers.
ALEC has provided legislation boosting insurance companies at the expense of consumers, providing for tobacco company regulatory breaks and privatizing public education. It also has provided a forum for those denying climate change.
The group was founded by Paul Weyrich in 1973 to promote a conservative social agenda. Weyrich also co-founded the Heritage Foundation and coined the phrase “moral majority.” It evolved into an organization promoting pro-business, free market doctrines.
Google famously pulled out of ALEC last year with chairman Eric Schmidt criticizing the group’s anti-climate change stance. Other major corporations ending ALEC support in the last few years include Microsoft GM, Coke, Proctor & Gamble and Bank of America.
Campaign finance violations, anybody?
We’ve gone through Anderson’s laundry list of campaign finance violations before, but those who forget the past yada yada.
As a two-term state assemblyman, Anderson admitted accepting five illegal campaign donations, He paid a $20,000 fine to the Fair Political Practices Commission.
Those donations, all from large donors violating campaign finance laws, were channeled through the Fresno County GOP Central Committee. Anderson returned the money to the tune of $150,000.
The Fair Political Practices Commission said Anderson “at worst deliberately and at best negligently received contributions in excess of the contribution limits.”
When it comes to occupation, aside from career politician and lobbyist, on officials election forms Anderson in 2002 said “consultant.” For the 2004 election he put “executive” as occupation, In 2005, his occupation was “retired. In 2006, he came out of retirement to declare himself “businessman/board president.”
In 2011 Anderson was a “business owner” and in 2012 listed his occupation as state senator, finally something truthful.
Anderson consistently has refused even to answer the simplest questions about what business he owned and for whom he consulted.
Anderson political donation machine
Whatever Anderson does for money, aside from his political work, it’s got to have been successful. Followthemoney.org reported he had “raised a total of $2,740,718” for his five races for state office. That’s a lot of cheddar for someone who doesn’t make any cheese. His many groups with names like “Tax Fighters for Anderson” gave over $150,000 to nine candidates over eight years.
How in the world does Anderson have so much money to spend? You tell us. Who gave him this money and why? You tell us. What the heck has he ever done for Valley Canter or the 38th State Senate District? Who knows?
Thankfully, we’re sooner rather than later rid of this scoundrel who is the poster child for the need for political campaign reform. He’s been an embarrassment to every honest and respectful citizen in the 38th District and we’re well rid of them.
However, those who put this guy squarely in the middle of the public trough and voted for this scoundrel need to look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves what on Earth was the point?
For the life us, we don’t know. And Joel Anderson doesn’t care.