Molly Munger, a civil rights attorney and the primary advocate behind Proposition 38, speaks in Los Angeles in September. (Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
October 9, 2012, 10:42 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — It was starting to look as though there would be no serious campaign against Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax plan until two groups lobbed direct hits at the measure in recent days with millions of dollars’ worth of television ads.

The attacks against Brown’s plan to temporarily boost levies on state sales and upper incomes are coming from taxpayer groups and from backers of another tax-increase proposal on the ballot. They’re funded by a pair of siblings with very different political goals.

Charles Munger Jr., a Stanford University physicist and Republican activist, has given close to $22 million to the group behind one of the ads, a political committee formed to take down the governor’s measure, Proposition 30.

His sister Molly Munger, a Pasadena civil rights attorney, has spent $31 million on the campaign for a different set of taxes to raise money for public schools, Proposition 38. Her campaign has been on the airwaves for weeks but on Tuesday launched its first ad that takes on Brown’s plan directly.

Although their ideological roots differ, both attacks take aim at “Sacramento politicians” and say the governor’s tax increases would not guarantee more money for schools.

Proponents of the governor’s initiative responded to the opposition ads in a statement Tuesday, calling both Mungers “billionaire bullies” trying to buy the election.

A recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll showed Brown’s measure with 55% support, down from 59% in May. Molly Munger’s Proposition 38 enjoyed far less support, with 34% of voters surveyed saying they would support her plan.

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