Qualcomm opens coffers for Fletcher's cause

To counterattack hits by GOP Lincoln Club, corporation cuts check for $49,000

Paul and Irving Jacobs
  • Paul and Irving Jacobs

San Diego's GOP Lincoln Club relentlessly nipping at its heels, cell-phone giant Qualcomm — founded by La Jolla billionaire Democrat Irwin Jacobs and run by his son Paul — has finally tossed some major money into the cause of Nathan Fletcher, the former Republican assemblyman now a Qualcomm executive running as a Democrat for mayor of San Diego.

As reported last week, local political insiders have been wondering whether Jacobs and his son Paul, Qualcomm's CEO, would tap into the company's cash hoard to fight back against the Lincoln Club's onslaught of hit pieces against Fletcher and the corporation.

The first Lincoln Club mailer provoked Paul into issuing a rare statement that attacked the high-rolling Republicans for what he said were untrue allegations against the high-tech giant.

I was outraged to learn that the Lincoln Club of San Diego — a supposedly pro-business political group — would fund a political hit piece that unfairly and incorrectly attacks one of San Diego’s largest employers.

I demand a full apology and a retraction of this slanderous attack on our company and its more than 13,000 local employees.

But until making yesterday's $49,000 contribution to the independent expenditure committee that calls itself "Restoring Trust in San Diego - A Committee to Support Nathan Fletcher for Mayor 2013," the corporate giant had officially remained above the fray.

The firm's financial support of the pro-Fletcher cause may raise new questions among some company shareholders regarding specific benefits that the corporation may expect from Fletcher's election as mayor in exchange for its backing.

Earlier this year, Qualcomm settled a case brought against it by New York's comptroller general, representing a state pension fund, which alleged the corporation was concealing its political donations.

Without disclosure, there is no way to know whether corporate funds are being used in ways that go against shareholder interests.

...Senior figures associated with Qualcomm, including the Company’s current CEO as well as his father, the Company’s founder and a Qualcomm director until 2012, are widely reported to be politically active and in recent years have donated more than $2 million of their personal funds in furtherance of political purposes.

Indeed, Qualcomm’s CEO has given the maximum donations permitted under law to his favored political candidates.

Meanwhile, the Lincoln Club and its backers, including U-T San Diego publisher Doug Manchester and Predator drone-maker Linden Blue, show no signs of abating their well-funded drive against Fletcher. According to a disclosure statement filed yesterday, November 12, the Republicans have widened their attack from hit pieces to $3000 worth of "auto dials."

Fresh funds for the club’s campaign against the newly minted Democrat include $25,000 from Bergelectric Corp. in Escondido and $10,000 from San Diego’s Vulcan Materials. Lehigh Hanson of Irving, Texas, came up with $5000.

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So this is what Citizen's United and the SCOTUS has brought or should I say BOUGHT to us. Billionaires and Multimillionaires throwing their wealth around as free political speech.

What does Mr. Fletcher say or for that matter think about this??? And, will his position change next time the wind changes direction. Fletcher's record of changing party affiliations/political philosophy is, well how should I say it, interesting to say the very least.

While City political offices are suppose to be non-partisan in nature, the office holders are not. I'm just wondering if Mr. Fletcher knows what he will believe IF elected.

In the meantime what are the good citizens of San Diego suppose to believe?

Ol' Irv has staked out his territory, and that is to have Fletcher, his hired hand, elected mayor. Jacobs is not likely to back down on this, which means that whatever the opponents ante up, he'll raise them. This could soon turn into a million dollar pit for Qualcomm funds. Notice, please, that this is corporate money he's spending on his own personal political interests. If you are a Qualcomm shareholder (or employee for that matter) you might wonder about the justification for the corporation to be attempting to dominate local politics.

Also, please observe that this time the big money is deployed by a Dem for a Dem candidate. It isn't just the GOP that does such things. In fact, more money from billionaires flows to the Dems, and there likely more billionaires on the Dem side (think entertainment and Silicon Valley) than on the other.

This election is a big money shoot out with the three major candidates all heavily beholden to their supporters, and whichever one is elected will surely make that political payoff his first priority.

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