TO: CVF-NEWS FROM: Kim Alexander, CVF President DATE: May 13, 2002 RE: CVF-NEWS round-up: Oracle scandal & more
In this edition of CVF-NEWS:
* Oracle scandal tops California political news * Questions brewing about California's high-tech contracting practices * Initiative campaign reveals donor identity following news inquiry * Vote for Calvoter.org in the Webbies' "People's Voice" Awards!
Oracle scandal tops California political news
For the past few weeks California newspapers have been filled with stories about a questionable contract the State of California entered into with Oracle Corp. Following a San Jose Mercury News investigation that raised questions about the terms of the $95 million contract, the state's Auditor General examined the contract and concluded it could cost the state $41 million in unwanted services. The investigation exploded into a full-blown
scandal when it was reported that California Governor Gray Davis' e-government director, Arun Baheti, had accepted a $25,000 contribution from Oracle's lobbyist shortly after the contract was signed.
Several Davis administration officials have resigned in the wake of the scandal. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who is investigating the contract, is returning $50,000 he received in contributions from Oracle in an effort to ensure his investigation is viewed as unbiased by the public. Similarly, Governor Davis recently announced he too will return a $25,000 contribution from Oracle.
The legislature is holding hearings and every major paper in California has a team of journalists investigating the Oracle contract as well as other contracts. For the latest news on the scandal, as well as links to archived stories online, visit the Rough & Tumble web site, http://www.rtumble.com. CVF is also featuring key stories relating to this scandal on our "What We're Reading" page, http://www.calvoter.org/reading.html.
Questions brewing about California's high-tech contracting practices
On May 12 the Sacramento Bee reported on the State of California's high-tech procurement practices and in particular, the Davis administration's contract to redesign the State of California's homepage. The article provides a good history on California's Department of Information Technology (DOIT) which was created in the early 1990's to protect the state against costly high-tech fiascos. The former head of DOIT, Elias Cortez has resigned in the wake of the Oracle scandal and there are questions now being raised as to whether DOIT will survive. The Bee story provides a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at high technology procurement practices in California. It's online at http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/story/2671380p-3371683c.html
Another recent Bee story closely examining the state's web site contract is available, at http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/story/2587632p-3121321c.html
Initiative campaign reveals donor identity following news inquiry
Last week, the San Jose Mercury News reported that the interests of one of the top contributors to the $2.6 billion park bond passed by California voters last March was unknown due to loopholes in nonprofit disclosure laws. Following two days' of reporting by the Merc, the Nature Conservancy, one of the leading organizations behind the park bond, disclosed that Caroline Getty is the person behind Wild Rose LLC, the
entity that made the contribution to the park bond campaign.
The Mercury News deserves kudos for following through on this very complex issue and raising awareness about the need to require disclosure of campaign contributors and to address loopholes in the law that permit nonprofit groups to shield the names of funders on ballot measure campaigns. The Merc's first story is available online at http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/3220868.htm; the follow up story is at http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/3236343.htm.
Vote for Calvoter.org in the Webbies' "People's Voice" Awards!
You can help CVF win another Webby Award! As a 2002 Webby Nominee, our site is eligible to win the Webby Award as well as the People's Voice award. Please take a moment to cast your vote for us at http://www.webbyawards.com/peoplesvoice/. Thanks for your support!
Have a great week,
-- Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation
firstname.lastname@example.org, (916) 452-7706, www.calvoter.org
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This page was first published on March 13, 2002 | Last updated on May 13, 2002
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