John Chiang

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John Chiang
John Chiang.jpg
California Treasurer
In office
January 5, 2015-present
Term ends
Years in position 0
PredecessorBill Lockyer (D)
Chair, Board of Equalization
Base salary$139,189
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$10,536,971
Term limits2 terms
Prior offices
California Controller
Bachelor'sUniversity of South Florida
J.D.Georgetown University
Date of birthJuly 31, 1962
Place of birthNew York, New York
Office website
Campaign website
John Chiang (b. July 31, 1962, in New York, New York) is the current Democratic California Treasurer. He was first elected to the office on November 4, 2014.

Chiang was the Democratic California Controller from 2007 to 2015. Chiang was first elected to the position of California Controller on November 7, 2006, and won re-election on November 2, 2010.[1] Chiang's second term ends January 5, 2015. Chiang was term-limited from seeking a third term as state controller in the 2014 elections, and instead ran for the office of California Treasurer[2]

A January 2013 article in Governing named Chiang as one of the top state Democratic officials to watch in 2013.[3]

Before becoming controller, Chiang served on the state Board of Equalization from 1998 to 2006. Previously, he was an attorney in the California controller's office and a tax law specialist with the Internal Revenue Service.[1]


Chiang was born in New York City to Taiwanese immigrants. He holds a B.A. in finance from the University of South Florida and a law degree from Georgetown University. After graduating from Georgetown, he began his career as a tax law specialist with the Internal Revenue Service. He also served as an attorney in the State Controller’s Office.[1]


  • B.A., Finance, University of South Florida
  • J.D., Georgetown University[4]

Political career

California Treasurer (2015-present)

Chiang was first elected to the state treasurer's office on November 4, 2014. He was sworn into office on January 5, 2015, replacing term-limited predecessor Bill Lockyer (D).

California Controller (2007-2015)

Chiang was first elected to the state controller's office on November 7, 2006 and was subsequently re-elected on November 2, 2010.[4]

Enforcement of Proposition 25

See also: California Proposition 25, Majority Vote for Legislature to Pass the Budget (2010)

Chiang announced on June 2, 2011 that unless the state legislature passed a balanced budget by June 15, the deadline specified in the California Constitution, he would start docking their pay. He said, "In passing Proposition 25 last November, voters clearly stated they expect their representatives to make the difficult decisions needed to resolve any budget shortfalls by the mandatory deadline, or be penalized. I will enforce the voters' demand."[5]

On June 22, Chiang announced that he was following through with his promise. Legislators did pass a budget, but according to Chiang, the budget they passed had a $1.85 billion deficit, and was therefore not a legal budget under the state's requirement that its budget must be balanced. Therefore, Chiang said, there was functionally no budget and by the terms of Proposition 25, he was required to stop paying the state's legislators. The impact to individual members of the California State Legislature was about $400/day. In Chiang's statement, he said that parts of the budget the legislature did pass were "miscalculated, miscounted or unfinished."[6]

Mike Gatto, a member of the California State Assembly, was one of several state legislators angered by Chiang's action. Gatto said, "John Chiang just wants to sit there and beat up on the unpopular kids. I now have to explain to my wife and daughter that we won't be able to pay the bills because a politician chose to grandstand at our expense."[6]

The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times had endorsed Proposition 25, but when Chiang announced on June 22 that he was stopping state legislative pay under its terms, the editorial board came out swinging against Chiang's action, referring to "an ill-advised provision" of Proposition 25 as well as to "poorly worded or deceptive measures with unforeseen consequences."[6]

Sued by legislators

On January 24, 2012, Democratic lawmakers sued Chiang for withholding their pay, saying it was a misuse of power. The suit did not ask for reimbursement of the pay, but rather sought to have the court bar the controller from doing it again if legislators approve a budget that they believe is balanced.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D) said the controller does not have the power to say if a budget is sound or not, stating, "Neither the governor nor any member of the executive branch may brandish the threat of withholding legislative pay because they disagree with the decisions made by the legislative branch."[7]

Chiang issued a statement, noting, "While nothing in the Constitution gives me the authority to judge the honesty, legitimacy or viability of a budget, it does clearly restrict my authority to issue pay to legislators when they fail to enact a balanced budget by the constitutional deadline of June 15."[7]

Board of Equalization (1999-2005)

Before becoming state controller, Chiang was elected to the Board of Equalization in 1998 where he served two terms, including three years as chair. The Board of Equalization collects California state sales and use tax, as well as fuel, alcohol, and tobacco taxes and fees that provide revenue for state government and essential funding for counties, cities, and special districts.[8]



See also: United States Senate election in California, 2016

Chiang was a potential candidate in the 2016 election for the U.S. Senate, to represent California.[9] However, Chiang decided not to seek election to the seat.[10]


See also: California down ballot state executive elections, 2014

Chiang ran successfully for the office of California State Treasurer in the 2014 elections.[11] He secured a spot on the general election ballot in the primary on June 3, 2014. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


Primary election
California Treasurer, Blanket Primary, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Chiang 55% 2,250,098
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngGreg Conlon 38.4% 1,571,532
     Green Ellen Brown 6.6% 270,388
Total Votes 4,092,018
Election Results via California Secretary of State.

General election
Treasurer of California, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Chiang 58.8% 4,176,793
     Republican Greg Conlon 41.2% 2,925,895
Total Votes 7,102,688
Election Results via California Secretary of State.


Chiang won re-election as Controller in the November 2, 2010 election.[12]

California Controller (2010)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png John Chiang (D) 5,325,357 55.2%
Tony Strickland (R) 3,487,014 36.1%
Andrew Favor (L) 292,441 3.1%
Karen Martinez (PAF) 209,638 2.2%
Ross Frankel (G) 191,282 1.9%
Lawrence Beilz (AIP) 154,145 1.5%

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Chiang is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Chiang raised a total of $10,536,971 during that time period. This information was last updated on January 16, 2015.[13]

John Chiang's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2014 California Treasurer Won $3,735,749
2010 California Controller Won $2,231,635
2008 California Controller Not up for election $33,894
2006 California Controller Won $3,045,756
2004 California Equalization Board District 4 Not up for election $740,155
2002 California Equalization Board District 4 Won $406,638
2000 California Equalization Board District 4 Not up for election $61,169
1998 California Equalization Board District 4 Won $281,975
Grand Total Raised $10,536,971


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of John Chiang's donors each year.[14] Click [show] for more information.


In 2010 Chiang collected $2,231,635 in donations.[15]

Listed below are the top five contributors to his campaign.

Donor Amount
California Democratic Party $61,796
California Teachers Association $25,800
California Labor Federation AFL-CIO $25,800
California State Association of Electrical Workers $25,800
Service Employees Local 721 $25,800


Chiang currently resides in Torrance, California with his wife, Terry Chi.[1]

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Political offices
Preceded by
California Treasurer
Succeeded by
Preceded by
California Controller
Succeeded by
Betty Yee (D)