GOP donor Charles Munger Jr. finds wealth buys few friends

Charles Munger Jr. Experienced a taste of the chronic rejection familiar to California’s prominent Republican donors when the 2005 ballot measure he supported lost by a landslide. Just a month later, he contributed his first $100,000 to a political campaign.

However, Munger, the offspring of a billionaire, proceeded to invest nearly $78 million on numerous other initiatives.

The physicist from Palo Alto, California, has been thrust into an unlikely role as a central force in the Republican Party’s attempted comeback from a two-decade slide. His occupation involves researching the fine points of electrons and protons.

According to Kevin Spillane, a Republican strategist, “the California Republican Party would have been completely defeated by now if it weren’t for Charles Munger.”

The Republican Party has made a crucial effort to shed its image as a league of white conservative men by helping candidates who are moderate, female, and Latino. Last year, the biggest state benefactor, Munger, spent more than $11 million to support these candidates. Munger, an academic with courtly fancies for suspenders and bow ties, has put his funding towards helping the Legislature and Congress in their efforts.

He has tried to block tax hikes and diminish the power of unions by stopping lawmakers from drafting election maps. Munger’s spending measures on the ballot illuminate his other priorities.

Munger’s spending scale has attracted adversaries from ridicule. The Fair Political Practices Commission of the state is investigating Democrats’ allegations that Munger skirted donation limits last year by funneling money through state party candidates favored.

“There is a significant amount of smoke present,” stated Lance Olson, a lawyer affiliated with the Democratic Party.

Munger refused to be interviewed. “My actions speak louder than any words I could provide you,” he stated in an email.

Panel curriculum state, Munger, who has served for four years, has lamented the quality of public education in California. In addition to fighting for Governor Jerry Brown’s measure to raise taxes among other public schools, Munger has also been hindered by spending politics and labor unions’ reluctance to back ballot measures.

Willie Pelote Sr., Who supervises California political matters for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, expressed, “It is astonishing that the funding for those children goes unnoticed, while millions of dollars are being spent to ensure that the well-being of children’s education is prioritized, one cannot claim to care.”

The former chairman of the Santa Clara County Party, Munger, has created enemies within his own party by bankrolling moderates, which conservatives are against primaries.

In 2012, he angered Orange County party officials by investing over $580,000 in an attempt to remove Republican Allan Mansoor from the state Assembly. The moderate Republican supported by Munger came in third place.

Months later, in his blog devoted to bashing California Republicanism, a clash of conservatives was spawned by his image remaking on a bow-tied man with intent, in the midst of a money maelstrom.

Trying to rescue the party, Munger ally Harmeet Dhillon, state party vice chairman, scoffed at his critics, saying that he deserves credit.

Charles Munger, who was not anointed as the golden boy or girl by the Assembly in Orange County, made a cardinal sin by backing someone.

“He said, ‘Any time you try to weaken one of the wings of the conservative party, you are on a fool’s errand,'” said Munger. He was referring to his adversaries in Orange County, including Mike Schroeder, former Chairman of the Republican Party at the state level.

Munger expressed regret at the 2013 conference at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo about the state party’s inability to expand its influence outside of Republican rural and suburban regions.

He stated, “it is essentially AWOL, as matter should and matter actually Republican convince to try to vision a carrying actually as far outside principles and ideals Republican safe been.”

He grew up in Munger Park Hancock and attended Harvard-Westlake, a private high school, and Third Street Elementary, a local public school, which is now known as Harvard.

Warren Buffett, the business partner of Munger, encountered his father in Nebraska, the place where the family’s origins lie. Charles T. Munger, who is 91 years old, serves as the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corp. He happens to be one of eight siblings.

When Munger was a child, his family spent their summer vacations in the same rustic lakeside cabin in Minnesota, where his grandfather and father enjoyed long fishing holidays.

Munger grew up in North Street, where he still resides today. He is currently ranked as the 1,415th richest person in the world, with his father being listed as a billionaire by Forbes. Munger became an adult by the time his father’s net worth was estimated at $1.3 billion.

Munger earned a doctorate in physics from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Stanford University, demonstrating proficiency in science and mathematics.

“By email, he mentioned that his thesis topic was The Lamb Shift in Heliumlike Uranium.”

Since his research appointment ended at Stanford’s Linear Accelerator Center in 1992, he has not held a paid job. He settled in Palo Alto, where he and his wife, Charlotte Lowell, an attorney, raised three children.

He expressed that having a scientific profession typically sustained by a paid job at a national laboratory has allowed him to accumulate wealth for his family. Regarding the cosmos, his research at particle accelerators aims to address fundamental inquiries but will not enhance anyone’s toaster efficiency.

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called the 2005 special election, and when asked about his motivation to enter politics, he revealed to the San Luis Obispo audience. He expressed his admiration for Schwarzenegger’s proposed agenda, which consisted of four ballot measures aimed at limiting the influence of unions and their Democratic supporters.

After studying his ballot pamphlet, Munger recalled thinking, “If this is where you want to take yourself, soldier, just state my governor.”

Voters rejected the proposal by Schwarzenegger to take away power from state lawmakers through the donation of $100,000, along with the rest of the governor’s ballot measures. This was the first time Munger’s maps drew attention during the election.

Munger proceeded to allocate $14.2 million towards additional redistricting reform initiatives, despite the potential restoration of lawmakers’ authority over congressional maps as a result of an impending U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Instilling apprehension in Democrats, Munger additionally invested $6 million in campaigns to place Republicans in the Legislature. A substantial portion for an individual contributor, he contributed $4.9 million to the party — equivalent to 17% of its total funds raised — for the election held last year. Currently, Munger has shifted his focus towards revitalizing the state party.

According to Steve Maviglio, a Democratic strategist, “a significant change would unexpectedly emerge on the chessboard as he continuously had to reposition our game pieces.”

In the Bay Area, David Hadley and Catharine Baker, both members of the Assembly, were denied a legislative supermajority by the Democrats. However, only a few winners, such as Hadley and Baker, received funding from Munger, while the majority of the money went to the losers.

Fleischman, a Republican blogger, stated that Jon Munger’s spending was deterring some conservatives. Munger, who prefers party operatives, alarmed conservatives last year in the Republican primaries by putting behind 1.9 million dollars to support moderates.

A campaign is less attractive, he stated, when “you’re one heartbeat away from Charles Munger pouring $1 million on your head.”



Twitter: @finneganLAT @maloym

Sandra Poindexter, a writer for the Times, made a contribution to this report.

Information regarding Munger’s political expenditure can be accessed through this link.