Wealthy siblings become forces in California politics

  • FILE -- In this Feb. 6, 2012 file photo, Molly Munger, a wealthy civil rights attorney and primary advocate behind Proposition 38 on the California ballot, meets with reporters in Sacramento, Calif. Munger, the daughter of wealthy investor Charles Munger Sr., is on the opposite side of the political isle as her half brother, Charles Munger Jr. who is major donor behind Proposition 32, which limits campaign contributions from unions. Both Mungers have spent millions in this election year to transform California's political landscape.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file)

SACRAMENTO — Charles Munger Sr. is best known as Warren Buffett's right-hand man, an investor who has turned his skill at picking winning companies into a billion-dollar fortune.

He has passed some of his passion on to his children, two of whom are using their considerable fortune to transform California's political landscape this year.

While Molly Munger and her half brother, Charles Jr., are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, both have thrown up significant roadblocks to Gov. Jerry Brown's ballot initiative seeking to balance the state budget through raising taxes.

Republican Charles Munger Jr., a Stanford physicist, has given $35 million to defeat Brown's initiative, which would raise the state sales tax and increase income taxes on the wealthy, and to support a ballot measure that would undercut public employee unions.

His sister has also attacked Brown's initiative, pushing her own ballot measure that would increase income tax rates for nearly all taxpayers and send the money directly to school districts, bypassing the Legislature. She has spent more than $33 million.

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