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Monday, November 5, 2012

Secret Donors Behind Arizona Political Nonprofit Group's $11 Million Are Revealed

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 4:06 PM

C.R.E.A.C.S.: "Cash Rules Everything Around Campaing Season. Get the money. Dolla dolla bills, y'all."
  • C.R.E.A.C.S.: "Cash Rules Everything Around Campaing Season. Get the money. Dolla dolla bills, y'all."

For two weeks, the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state's campaign finance watchdog, had been trying to get Americans for Responsible Leadership, an Arizona-based nonprofit, to disclose the donors behind the organization's $11 million contribution to an anti-Proposition 30/pro-Proposition 32 California committee.

On Sunday, the California Supreme Court ruled that state authorities could identify the sources behind the Arizona group's donation -- California law states that nonprofits must disclose the cash sources if the donors are aware that the money is going to a political campaign. So ARL appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It seemed the stalemate would stretch past tomorrow's election. But, suddenly, today the political nonprofit, to avoid an official audit, agreed to reveal the $11 million's donors, which turned out to be ... more political nonprofits.

Basically, the $11 million that ended up in the Small Business Action Committee PAC in California first filtered through two other groups: Americans for Job Security then The Center to Protect Patient Rights.

The Fair Political Practices Commission chalked this one up as a win, with its chair, Ann Ravel, declaring the outcome "a significant and lasting victory for transparency in the political process."

Just look at all this hard-fought-for transparency:

"Although it could not be confirmed," the Sac Bee reported, "the Center to Protect Patient Rights has been connected to Kansas-based Koch Industries, whose owners, David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch, are conservative advocates."

Team Koch, the Bee noted, denied any involvement in or financial support for Props 30 -- Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to raise income and sales taxes -- and 32 -- which would limit unions' ability to raise political funds.

This is the new normal when it comes to campaign finance transparency: Speculative reports on political committees posing as nonprofits whose contributors' anonymity is protected by the federal government. State authorities called this whole episode, "the largest contribution ever disclosed as campaign money laundering in California history."

Given ARL's disclosures, The Center to Protect Patient Rights is now required to send a letter to the Small Business Action Committee stating that it was an intermediary for the money. Americans for Job Security-- where the money was first received-- is now required to file a donor report, but does not have to reveal the individual contributors.

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Albert Samaha


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