Bechtel, Wellpoint, Calpine, Pro-Israeli PACs Fill Swalwell’s Campaign Coffers

CONGRESS 15 | Rep. Eric Swalwell’s coffers continue to swell with more Political Action Committees and special interest donors with big pockets contributing to his first swing at re-election next year. Thus far he attracted $237,000 in the second financial quarter of this year with $405,000 ending cash-on-hand.

Swalwell’s growing war chest dwarfs his likely competitor, State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, whose donations have not budge much from last quarter’s with only $115,772 on hand. However, Corbett has been campaigning vigorously using some of the same strategies Swalwell used last year featuring retail politics and appearances at many public events around the district.

Of course, Swalwell’s incumbency gives him an advantage with familiar Democratic donors and PACs leading him to a large financial boost over Corbett. Some familiar donors make a return from the last financial quarter as well as some that helped Swalwell beat Pete Stark last year. Some of those include PACs such as the American Association for Justice ($5,000), Publix Supermarkets ($1,000), Calpine Corporation ($2,000) and Safeway ($4,000).

Also, controversial health provider, Wellpoint Inc, that Stark formerly grappled with for spiking health care premiums in California in 2010 also unloaded more money into Swalwell’s coffers with $3,500. During Swalwell’s race against Stark Wellpoint Inc, gave $5,000 to Swalwell. Swalwell’s campaign avoided discussing Wellpoint’s controversial past at the time, when questioned. Also, controversial engineering firm Bechtel donated $5,000 to Swalwell. The energy company is involved with the construction of Calpine’s Russell City Energy Center on the Hayward Shoreline. Some environmental activists have been highly critical of the energy plant, in addition to nearby Chabot College.

Another controversial donor returning to Swalwell’s aid is the World Alliance For Israel PAC, which typically backs candidates willing to lobby in favor of Israel’s own special interests which commonly includes their enduring conflict with Palestinians. Swalwell has not hid his favor for Israel in the past and has accepted other funds from Israel support groups, both conservative and liberal, during his race against Stark. This time the WAI PAC raised their contribution to $5,000, as opposed to just $2,000 last year.

Expected Democratic donors also included such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who donated $2,000 and unions such as National Air Traffic Controller Association with $1,000 and Carpenters Legislative Improvement Committee with $5,000.

Also John J. Dutra of Dutra Land and Consulting Services, who unsuccessfully ran for Fremont city council last year, donated a relatively high sum of $1,000 to Swalwell. His father, John A. Dutra, ran against Corbett for State Senate in 2006, which Corbett surprisingly won when many expected her to lose.

Some other big time individual donors who donated the yearly maximum in campaign donations to a single candidate allowed of $2,600 were Wahed Qureshi, technology officer of Citrix, Melanie Shelby of Gray, Greer, Shelby and Vaughn LLC (A consultant agency) and Jaspreet Dosanjh, general manager of Fremont Chevrolet.

Former Pleasanton mayor, Jennifer Hosterman, who is also a potential candidate for Swalwell’s seat next year, reported no campaign activity for the second quarter.

Shane Bond is an East Bay Citizen contributor.

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