The High Cost of Local Politics

Tops among local political consulting firms is Revolvis, owned by Jason Roe and Duane Dichiara. Since July, the firm has hauled in over $123,000 from California campaigns.
  • Tops among local political consulting firms is Revolvis, owned by Jason Roe and Duane Dichiara. Since July, the firm has hauled in over $123,000 from California campaigns.

The 2012 election season is quickly shaping up as one of the busiest in recent years, and by all indications, San Diego political consultants have just begun to rake in big bucks from a variety of California campaign committees. At the moment, the getting looks good. From July of last year through the middle of March, according to numbers available online from the California secretary of state, local political gurus had been paid a total of $461,972 in consulting fees.

Biggest winner thus far: Revolvis Consulting, Inc., with total compensation of $123,207. With offices in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, as well as locally on Clairemont Drive, the company recalls on its website that “Revolvis began in 1995 when Jason Roe and Duane Dichiara were politically active young turks in San Diego Republican politics.… Jason went off to Washington, DC and Duane headed to Sacramento with a plan that one day, they would return and start that dream firm. More than a decade later, Revolvis Consulting opened its doors.”

Dichiara once told Capitol Weekly that his chief “claim to fame” was being “simultaneously chief of staff for two good San Diegans,” assembly Republicans Mark Wyland and Shirley Horton, in 2003. During the second half of 2011, the fees paid Revolvis included a total of $6000 from Wyland’s 2014 Board of Equalization campaign account.

Second place in the consulting derby goes to the Democratic fund-raising firm of KM Strategies, run by Kelli Medina Maruccia, a former finance assistant to Democratic senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, according to her profile on LinkedIn. KM booked a total of $63,227 from assemblymembers Toni Atkins and Ben Hueso, along with ex–Del Mar city councilwoman Crystal Crawford, who later decided not to run for assembly and instead endorsed Atkins.

Emissary Relations, LLC, run by Benjamin and Anne Bosanac, was a close third with $63,000, all of it from the San Diego mayoral campaign of GOP assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who last week announced he was leaving the party to become an independent.

According to their biographies posted on a company website that has since been taken down, Anne — previously development officer for the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in New York City — is director of fund-raising for the Fletcher campaign. Benjamin worked for the New York institute’s Center for Policing Terrorism.

Further down on the political pecking order is Jon Cross of Chris-Cross Marketing, who racked up $33,870 in fees from New Majority California PAC. “Jon serves as the Executive Director for New Majority San Diego, one of the largest Republican PAC’s in California,” according to the Chris-Cross website. “In addition, he also serves as an informal advisor to Nathan Fletcher’s San Diego mayoral campaign.

“Previously, Jon co-produced and directed the Nevada Inaugural Ceremony and Northern Nevadan Inaugural Ball for the newly elected Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval,” the web bio continues. “In 2010, Jon served as a senior campaign staff member to U.S. Senate candidate and former CEO of HP Carly Fiorina, where he managed candidate and political advance operations.”

Other medium-to-heavy hitters among local politicos included George Bresnahan, who was paid $27,000 by Democratic state senator Juan Vargas, a longtime client. Another was Donna Cleary, campaign consultant for state senator Mark Wyland. She received $16,424 from Wyland’s 2010 campaign account. Smaller players on the local political scene included Dorsee Productions, the fund-raising outfit run by Rancho Santa Fe Republican Karolyn Dorsee, which was paid $7915 by the New Majority California PAC.

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Bresnahan...Vargas...still together after all these years, and still not in jail. In 2006 it was reported that Vargas and Bresnahan violated California Election Code 18205 by attempting to bribe another Hispanic-surname candidate to not run for Congressional District 51. Bresnahan, however, must be more careful or better protected, or just smarter, than Vargas' previous aide, Ralph Inzunza, was. Bresnahan is not in jail, but Inzunza is. Both Vargas and Inzunza were involved in wire fraud, intimidation, and extortion. But Vargas, of course, is free and running again. Always chasing Filner's job. When Filner finishes serving his full terms as San Diego mayor, will Vargas still be out of jail and able to gun for that job? Time will tell.

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