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Land of the Lincoln Club

San Diego City Beat

By: Kelly Davis
Published: March 7, 2012

For conservative political group, money speaks volumes

If you want to get a sense of what the Lincoln Club of San Diego County’s all about, watch the promotional video on the group’s website. Over an ominous soundtrack of staccato violins, a male voice tells an American Dream-like tale of the club’s growth from “humble origins” in 1983 to become the county's “the single most effective political action committee.” Words like “battle,” “resurgence” and “game-changing” pervade the narrative.

If money equals power, the Lincoln Club wields it like no other local political organization. Its 400 members, whose annual dues provide a guaranteed source of money for the group’s political action committee, are a who’s-who of lobbyists, developers, Republican-backed elected officials (and their staff members) and high-profile business owners—the people behind Mossy Nissan, Jerome’s Furniture and Coles Carpets sit on the club chairman’s special advisory committee. Though the Lincoln Club describes itself as nonpartisan and focused on “pro-prosperity” candidates and issues, what and whom it chooses to support is almost always partisan.


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Pension Reform: Politically Speaking on NBC

Court ruling: Free speech and the mother’s milk of politics

UT San Diego logo

By: T.J. Zane

February 6, 2012

Last month’s U.S. District Court ruling on the city of San Diego’s Election Campaign Control Ordinance (ECCO) was humdrum news to most people, but for those of us engaged in the local political arena, it was nothing short of huge.

The ruling was more than a victory for San Diegans and the plaintiffs – it was the latest chapter in an ongoing First Amendment fight for free speech waged in courtrooms across the country.

In 2002, San Diego candidates and groups supporting or opposing candidates for city office were able to accept contributions from individuals, but prohibited from accepting contributions from organizations.

The Lincoln Club of San Diego County, a pro-prosperity political action committee (PAC) and other organizations like it that were accustomed to participating in the electoral process via direct mail and other types of voter contact independent of a candidate’s campaign, were also accustomed to accepting contributions from individuals, corporations and organizations. Accordingly, the club entered into an agreement with the city with respect to how the club must attribute contributions it receives from individuals for independent expenditure (IE) campaigns in support of, or opposition to, candidates. However, ECCO’s prohibition of contributions to groups like the Lincoln Club from “organizations” was left intact.

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Lincoln Club Promotional Video