Politico reports that while most of us were focusing on her final debate with Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman quietly contributed an additional $20 million of her own money to her campaign, making her total personal contribution about $140 million.
The San Francisco Chronicle remembers a time when Meg Whitman, newly on the campaign, estimated that she would spend approximately $50 million of her own money. Three weeks before the vote, Whitman has spent almost three times that amount, and expects she might spend up to $150 million if its needed.
At their final debate this week, moderator Tom Brokaw asked Whitman about her spending, saying:
On spending, Whitman responded,
"It's well-known that you're spending $120 million, at least, of your own fortune on this campaign. It's money that you earned, and you have absolutely a legal right to spend it in this campaign. But I think a lot of people wonder, if you were so interested in the state of California, why you didn't vote all those years, or get involved in state commissions or in other parts of public life. Is there something about how you've used your fortune for the good of California in other causes that we don't know that you'd like to share with us tonight?"
"The reason that I have invested my own money in this is because I think we can make California much stronger. I think we can revive the California Dream for every single Californian. But I'm up against some pretty big entrenched interests. The public employee unions have poured money into this campaign. Over the last four or five years in California, they've poured $300 million to control politics in Sacramento. And that expenditure of my own money, as I've said, allows me to be independent, to go to Sacramento with no strings attached. And if Jerry Brown gets to be governor of this state, there will be a meeting. He talks about bringing people together--there will be a meeting of all the union bosses, for them to collect the IOUs for them having funded Jerry Brown's entire campaign."