More Money, More Problems for Jerry Brown, Too

Controversy erupts over pension records, which could cost taxpayers millions.

By Jamilah King Aug 17, 2010

Looks like Jerry Brown’s got some money issues of his own. The California gubernatorial candidate has largely been overshadowed by Republican rival Meg Whitman’s big pocket spending. But the Los Angeles Times’ PolitiCal blog picked up an item from the Orange County Register on Brown’s potentially damning retirement situation, and that the long time California politician could be set to get more money than he’s owed.

The 72-year-old Brown has racked up a total of 16 years in state offices as attorney general, secretary of state, and a previous stint as governor from 1975 to 1983. That time doesn’t include his eight-year tenure as mayor of Oakland that ended in 2006. In total, Brown should have credit for 16 years in state office. But the Register reported that he’s getting credit for 25, and the difference could "mean tens of thousands of dollars in additional pension payments for Brown each year." 

The records the Register points to allege that Brown could receive a pension of more than $110,000 a year, not including the retirement money he’ll get for his time as mayor of Oakland.

Brown’s office claims that the documents, which don’t name but strongly insinuate they’re about Brown, aren’t anything he needs to be worried about. But the news is sure to help Whitman’s campaign, whose message rests largely on getting rid of politics-as-usual in Sacramento.

Brown’s campaign is expected to release his retirement records in the next few days. But already, squabbles over money are clearly starting to shape California’s governor’s race. Last week, Whitman added $13 million from her personal fortune to her campaign arsenal, bringing her total personal campaign budget up to $104 million. Meanwhile, Brown claimed to be saving his comparably meager funds for a massive campaign push in the fall.

Political piggy banks aside, both candidates’ success will depend on how well they can court the state’s Latino voters.