California Common Cause Shines the Light on Dark Money Campaign Contributions
UPDATE 2013: Take Action to end dark money contributions. Support SB 2,3, and 27: The Sunshine in Campaigns Act. http://www.commoncause.org/ca/sunshinecampaign
On October 19th, California Common Cause asked the Fair Political Practices Commission to take immediate action to protect the integrity of November’s election by investigating and exposing the secret, out-of-state interests who recently funneled $11 million to oppose Prop 30 and support Prop 32 in this November’s election.
“Secretive out-of-state interests are trying to manipulate California’s election with laundered money and the FPPC must shine the light on this shadowy group to determine who they are, where their money comes from and what their agenda is for California,” said Phillip Ung, policy advocate for California Common Cause.
An Arizona group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, recently laundered $11 million in campaign funding through the Small Business Action Committee PAC in what may be the largest secret political donation in California history. Americans for Responsible Leadership was incorporated through a law firm that counts among its clients Karl Rove’s Crossroads organizations, the Koch-funded Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity and the California Future Fund which recently spent $4 million to support the anti-union Prop 32. Rove and the Koch brothers have reportedly planned to spend $200 million and $400 million respectively to influence this November’s elections nationwide, and they’re notorious for using non-profit organizations to keep their spending secret.
“The $11 million contribution from a group which has previously never spent more than $500,000 on a political campaign raises 11 million red flags – and suggests that this group is only a shell organization whose primary purpose is to shield its donors from disclosure,” said Derek Cressman, vice president of state operations for Common Cause.
The FPPC passed regulations just this spring allowing them to investigate and even subpoena SBAC’s records and communications with these Arizona operatives in order to protect the integrity of California’s elections and ensure that Californians know who is behind the campaign to hurt our schools and skew our campaign finance systems in favor of corporations, billionaires, and SuperPACS.
The new regulations require a nonprofit who makes contributions to California candidates or ballot measures to identify its donors who made that contribution possible if the donors knew or should have known their money would be used for political purpose. The FPPC’s new rules state, in part, that “[a]n organization shall not knowingly conceal the name of a donor with the purpose of depriving the public of information to which it is entitled under the Act.” (Cal. Code. Regs., tit. 2, § 18412, emphasis added.)
Photo Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press
Resources and Materials:
Oct. 20, 2012 – San Francisco Chronicle Mysterious Contributions Draws Scrutiny
Oct. 20, 2012 – San Francisco Gate Group Seeks Audit of $11 Million Donation by Arizona Group
Oct. 20, 2012 – Los Angeles Times Jerry Brown to Secret Donors: Take your Mask Off