As many of you will note in the news today, the transgender bathroom law is about to take effect in California. As burdensome, ridiculous, and unworkable as this law may be, many readers will ask about the supposed referendum effort to block this law.
Bad news, there never was a serious effort to block or repeal this law. Some financial backers of Prop 8 were interested in funding such an effort until it got hijacked by CRI (Capital Resource Institute). Once CRI interjected itself into the issue, the potential funders sat on the sidelines; only if CRI succeeded with the qualification of the referendum would they jump into the fray. CRI—the Karen England led conservative lobbying group—took this issue and turned it into another half-baked fund raising campaign for her organization.
This is at least the fourth such effort that CRI has made in recent years. They have a zero track record of success in anything they have tried to put on the ballot. In fact their efforts are so feeble that you can’t even find any trace of them on the California Secretary of State website for campaign finance reporting. The little money they have raised has gone to their staff payroll and CRI overhead and not to any signature gathering or other legitimate efforts to get anything on the ballot.
In a recent Sacramento Bee article, it was revealed that CRI got cross-wise with the IRS last summer and was in danger of losing their tax exempt status. I asked a politically connected friend about this article and his unsolicited response was, “I guess that explains why they were running the referendum campaign; to maintain cash flow.”
CRI is not only failing in their mission, they are actively hurting the few remaining conservatives left in California by emboldening our ideological opponents. By purporting to speak for all conservatives and failing miserably at every turn, CRI is creating the perception that nothing stands in the way of the looney Left agenda.
In recent years, CRI has lost their way. They spent much of their time fighting with conservatives and trying to take over the CRA and after that failed, they then expended effort trying to create an identical organization under their control (currently they have about two active chapters statewide).
Their fundraising often involves pretending to be part of someone else’s efforts to get something on the ballot or creating a parallel effort instead of supporting folks that are like minded on an issue. Prop 8 is the poster child for this behavior. CRI raised money from people that thought they were giving to Prop 8 when in fact they were giving to a CRI shadow organization that funneled money into CRI for the purpose of helping them make payroll. As is often the case with CRI, the money did not go to the purpose that donors were promised.
This referendum drill by CRI was a dismal failure. I knew it would be before they ever collected a signature. They never had a chance of success. The reality of politics in California is that such an effort typically requires about three million dollars just to get it on the ballot and an additional fifteen million or more to run a legitimate campaign. CRI ended up getting about half of the valid signatures required for qualification. Only paid gatherers could make up the needed shortfall. Why they would undertake such an effort when defeat was certain is mind boggling.
The reality is that we need CRI or a group like them at the Capitol but we also need an effective group. CRI has lost their way. The fact that Karen England is now residing in Nevada and commutes to Sacramento to work two days a week is not a harbinger that things are looking up for them.
Lest you think I am alone in this belief take a look at these articles: