Ong Crosses $500,000 In Total Independent Expenditure Support

Dr. Jennifer Ong

ELECTION ‘12//ASSEMBLY | Dr. Jennifer Ong, one of two Democrats facing each other in the 20th Assembly District next month, broke the half-million dollar mark in support from independent expenditures this week.

Ong, who is facing former Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk, another Democrat, received over $90,000 in support from groups not affiliated directly with her campaign for the Assembly, but connected to the optometric industry. Ong is an optometrist with her own practice in Alameda.

The Cooperative of American Physicians Independent Expenditure Committee filed support for Ong’s campaign in the form of $50,178 last Wednesday. Another $40,505 was spent on Ong’s behalf by the California Optometric Association Political Action Committee, and Doctors of Optometry for Better Health Care. The outlay from this IEC now totals over $213,000 for the entire campaign. The sometimes large expenditures are often used to promote the group’s special interests along with supporting the candidate in mailers.

All together, Ong has received indirect benefits from independent expenditure committee this campaign season of $523,465. The huge support from special interests has greatly leveled the playing field built by her opponent’s sizable fundraising advantage built upon labor unions and traditional allies in the local Democratic Party.

The uptick in support for Ong from IECs with just a few weeks until Election Day follows a similar pattern to the days leading up to the June primary. Ong’s own campaign spending along with help from IECs in late May was a prime reason for her strong finish, leading to a second place finish.

Quirk, himself, was also the beneficiary this week of one IEC of particular note, if not for the race in the 20th, but the nearby 18th Assembly District. The California Alliance, A Coalition of Consumer Attorneys and Conservationalists filed support for Quirk worth $25,200 last Tuesday. This is the same special interest group that infamously spent over $163,000 in a flurry of highly negative ads to successfully thwart Joel Young’s bid last June for the Assembly.

In the 18th, Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta received support from three small IEs this week, giving him a total of over $83,000 for the entire election.

10 thoughts on “Ong Crosses $500,000 In Total Independent Expenditure Support

  1. one special interest versus another….this is not an election. Ong and Quirk are political whores. My ballot will be blank in protest for that race.


  2. I think that you should be careful about tarring them with the same brush. Ong's optometrists are concerned about scope of practice (i.e. they want to give botox injections and perform outpatient eye surgeries like LASIK – multibillion market). They want to further limit liability in medical malpractice, already limited in California. These things aren't in their patients' best interests. It's unambiguously bad.

    Decisions about energy are much more ambiguous. You're probably not aware of it, but Bill Quirk's work to model the planet's climate at NASA is actually a pillar of the entire global warming argument. He was one of the first legislators in the Bay Area try to get cities to prepare for climate change. Google it: it's been written up in the popular and scientific press.

    We want all our energy to come from renewable and clean sources, and California must obtain 33% of its electricity from renewables by 2020 under the RPS. This is a tall order, because there is no way to store energy and use it when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing (e.g. at night). There is also no smart grid to efficiently route it, which means that powerplants, wind turbines, and solar farms have to be larger and located close to cities (look at the reaction to a single turbine in San Leandro!). Without some intermediate solutions, we face energy price spikes or even energy shortages.

    Natural gas is the cheapest and cleanest solution. It's imperfect, because natural gas is still a fossil fuel. However, gas plants can be started and stopped quickly to react to demand, which means that they actually catalyze the spread of renewables. The alternative is to build a coal plant somewhere nearby. Coal-fired plants can't be started and stopped quickly, and their larger size means that they displace renewables rather than supplement them. Coal, by the way, causes 24,000 premature deaths each year in the US due to particulate emissions, and coal power emits nearly twice the greenhouse gases per unit of energy as gas.

    Perhaps you can argue about the choice of a particular site, but the kind of pollution that gas plants emit, particularly greenhouse gases, is scattered over a broad area. In any case, that's a decision informed by technical and engineering analysis. I'd much rather have, as my representative on these issues, someone whose environmental record stretches back decades and whose analytical abilities will allow him to cut through the obfuscation of special interests on all sides and arrive at the best, balanced conclusion.


  3. Taking contributions from Optometrists is better than Quirk taking money from Calpine – which is building the 2nd biggest greenhouse polluter in the entire Bay Area right on the SF shoreline next to a wildlife refuge.

    Not only did he take their dirty money but he actively promoted it! So vote for Quirk if you want someone who is the mouthpiece for polluters! Maybe Hayward can become the next Martinez in his time in the Assembly!


  4. Steve,I wish you'd followed the money one step further on this for your readers and teh voters. Ong's IE money doesn't just come from optomotrists. A lot of it comes from the Cooperative of Allied Physicians which is INSURANCE COMPANAIES.They don't give a fig about patient rights, or healthcare affordability and access. they oppose Single Payer and any healthcare reform, really. They whine about Medicare and Medical reimsursements. It's about protecting an MD's scope of practice (fight RNs, PA's, CNMs, PT's, etc)and keeping patients from suing for malpractice. And Ong is supported by them, becasue she's NOT a progressive and she can't raise money on her own.

    BTW: these are same groups that built Hayashi's warchest


  5. Two incompetent people Ong and Quirk ready to buy an election. It should have been Green or Reynoso at the end. But our system is not set up to elect competent people, only people with special interest money.


  6. I am not voting for Quirk or Ong both are crooks. That ballot portion will be empty on mine. Too bad we wil not have a write-in allowed. That is unconstitutional. Hello China and Russia.


  7. Huge money to Ong from optometrists so that she will fight their ongoing battles with ophthalmologists over who can and cannot treat certain eye conditions.

    Millions of dollars spent by both sides to protect their source of income, like in treating glacoma.

    There is no other reason that such groups would be pouring so much money into one state assembly race.
    They want Ong to be their woman in Sacramento.

    BTW, regarding boths sides, its all about money and has nothing to do with the helping average patient, or in cutting costs.


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