Published: 26 May 2012 12:30 PM

Few legislative races on the June 5 ballot feature the same thicket of independent groups’ money and motives as Riverside County’s 31st Senate District.

Campaign filings last week helped flesh out who’s behind the nearly $700,000 deluge in outside money (so far.) Here’s a quick rundown:

California Senior Advocates League PAC: The committee has spent $115,245: $80,060 to oppose Riverside business attorney Richard Roth, a Democrat, and $35,185 in support of his Democratic rival, former Inland lawmaker Steve Clute.

The committee has received $100,000 from wealthy Republican activist Charles Munger Jr. Another $500,000 came from the California NOW independent-expenditure committee. That committee’s largest donors are the California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee ($500,000), the California Chamber of Commerce-linked JobsPAC ($500,000), Munger ($250,000), and the Chevron Corporation ($250,000.)

In 2006, Republican political-consulting firm Meridian Pacific, Inc. ran the re-election campaign of then-Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City, against Clute. Last week’s reports show that the firm now is sending out pro-Clute mail.

Californians for Accountability: The committee has spent $215,000: $194,000 in opposition to Clute, $21,000 in support for Roth.

The bulk of the group’s money, $300,000, is from the California State Council of Service Employees Political Action Committee.

The council gave $6,700 to Clute’s 2006 campaign. Now it’s helping to pay for mail criticizing Clute for missing “hundreds of votes” in the Assembly in the 1980s.

California Alliance for Progress and Education: The group has spent more than $87,000: $65,000 to support Clute and almost $23,000 opposing Roth.

The group’s biggest donor is the California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee ($100,000). The group also received $5,000 apiece from the California Dental Association, and Farmers Insurance.

The group’s mail calls Roth “a Bush-McCain Democrat” and Clute “a real Democrat for state Senate.”

The committee uses the same Republican consultants as the senior league PAC and the law firm of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk for legal services. Charles Bell is legal counsel to the California Republican Party.

Fund for a Working Majority: The group has spent $175,000 to support Roth.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the California-Nevada Conference of Operating Engineers PAC, Professional Engineers in California Government, and Political Action for Classified Employees of California School Employees gave money to the committee.

In 2006, all of the unions except for PECG gave money to Clute’s campaign.

California Statewide Law Enforcement Association: The group has spent $106,000 to support Roth.

The organization represents fish and game wardens, state inspectors, and other types of law-enforcement workers.

CREATIVE LICENSE

Newspaper headlines are a staple of political mailers, as rival candidates try to cast their opponents in a negative light.

But a recent piece sent out by San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry takes the practice to a new level.

The mailer accuses his opponent, former San Manuel tribal Chairman James Ramos, of cheating taxpayers and includes a quote by “Michele” from the San Bernardino Sun, stating, “How can he speak for us when he doesn’t have to follow the same laws or pay the same taxes that we do?”

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