The state Supreme Court issued an order Sunday to allow California’s political watchdog to identify contributors to an Arizona group’s last-minute infusion of $11 million to the campaigns opposing Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposition 30 tax initiative and supporting an anti-union prop 32 measure on Tuesday’s ballot. After making a rejected last minute request of the California Supreme Court to stay the order, the group chose instead to ignore the order and advised that they won’t be turning their donor records over to FPPC by 9AM this morning as they appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, an action that is also not likely to turn in their favor. Nonetheless, it will most likely result in Californian’s not knowing the big, secret money behind these measures until well after the election.
On October 15th an Arizona non-profit called Americans for Responsible Leadership skirted California’s tough campaign disclosure laws and made an 11 million dollar donation to a California committee that opposes prop 30 and supports prop 32. While it would be difficult to ascertain how an 11 million dollar last minute infusion could benefit the California committee unless they had done the media buys well in advance, it nonetheless skirts the spirit and intent of California’s tough campaign finance disclosure laws that serve to keep our political system mostly honest and credible.
This last minute legal maneuvering won’t be lost on voters who haven’t already cast their votes either. A certain percentage of voters will look at measures that have secret backing or opposition and as a result, the secret backing and secret opposition backfires, something the California committee strategists probably didn’t spend too much time contemplating when they accepted the donation.
Our tough campaign disclosure laws is one of the elements that keeps California number 46 on the Forbes state corruption index.
How do you feel about secret campaign donations and money=free speech? Who should be held accountable? The California committee members for accepting and/or spending the donation or the Arizona non-profit that made the donation?
In one of California’s greatest political money laundering schemes Americans for Responsible Leaderships donors have been identified as The Center to Protect Patients Rights which accepted the donation from Americans for Job Security in Virginia who accepted the donation from the billionaire Koch Brothers.