More is being revealed about Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership (ARL), an organization that funneled $11 million into California's tax initiative debate in the last couple weeks of the election. Responding to a complaint filed by California Common Cause, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) sued the organization days before the election, demanding disclosure of the $11 million. After first resisting, ARL eventually handed over documents to state officials, who revealed that the money had been funneled by a group called Americans for Jobs Security, who first sent the money through a second intermediary, The Center to Protect Patient Rights. In a press release, the FPPC called the discovery, "the largest contribution ever disclosed as campaign money laundering in California history."
Now, more has come out on the true source of the money, Virginia-based Americans for Jobs Security (AJS). According to California state campaign filings, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) California donated a total of $400,000 to AJS in the months leading up to the election. While California's disclosure laws were strong enough to eventually reveal that the California-based organization was behind the money, the revelation came months after the election. California companies who want to influence our elections should not be able to hide behind secretive out-of-state organizations until months after the election in which they were trying to influence. As a California organization, ACEC California should have been required to disclose their efforts to influence our election much, much sooner because voters deserve to know who is trying to influence elections, what they are trying to accomplish, and most importantly, why they are doing so?
This blog post was written by CA Common Cause volunteer Jaron Raab