Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata continues to collect lucrative fees as a “campaign consultant” from the state’s powerful prison guard’s union, even though the union has mounted no political campaigns. The ex-state senator pocketed $48,893 in the past few months, according to the latest campaign finance filings, raising the total he has banked from the California Correctional Peace Officers’ Association’s Issues Committee to nearly $90,000 in the first five months of this year.
Perata went on the prison guard’s union payroll immediately after being termed out from the state senate in late 2008. In 2009, the union paid him $260,000 as a “campaign consultant.” But it’s unclear exactly what Perata’s company, Perata Consulting, which includes his son, Nick Perata, has done to earn nearly $350,000 in the past seventeen months because the union has launched no political campaigns since it hired him.
During his tenure as state senate president pro tem, Perata helped insulate the prison guard’s union from budget cuts. The prison guard's union also has been Peralta Consulting's only political campaign client since its inception in early 2009.
The prison guard’s union’s other main “campaign consultant” is the Battin Group, Republican strategists formerly known as Voter Strategies. The group’s clients over the years have included Steve Poizner, who just lost the GOP nomination for governor to Meg Whitman. The prison guard’s union has paid the Battin Group $493,117 since the beginning of 2009.
The prison guard’s union also donated $50,000 last year to Avalon Village, an Alameda nonprofit run by Perata’s ex-girlfriend Jill Cabeceiras.