FPPC to announce settlement in Arizona donor case

FPPC to announce settlement in Arizona donor case

The California Fair Political Practices Commission will announce today at noon they have  reached a settlement in the investigation into the mysterious $11-million donation from an Arizona nonprofit, during the 2012 California general election.afrl-logo-final-01_sm1

FPPC Chairwoman Ann Ravel, a Democrat, is leaving the FPPC later this week to join the Federal Election Commission in Washington, as a President Obama appointee.

Super PACs vs. Big Labor

At issue was $11 million in Super PAC money contributed to fight the governor's ballot initiative to increase sales and income taxes through Proposition 30, and the ballot initiative which would have weakened the political power of labor unions, Proposition 32.

There was relatively little media interest in the $66 million raised by organized labor to fight passage of Prop. 32, including $20 million from the California Teachers Association.

Many charged the controversial $11 million contribution came from the despised Koch brothers, who give to conservative causes. The recipient of the  donation was Sacramento-based Small Business Action Committee PAC and its No on Proposition 30/Yes on Proposition 32 efforts.

Prop. 32 would have prohibited corporations and public employee unions from making direct contributions to political campaigns, and ban automatic payroll deductions by corporations and unions of employees’ wages to be used for politics.

The donation made headlines and generated a controversy because of its source — an unknown Phoenix group called Americans for Responsible Leadership.

The Center to Protect Patient Rights, was the other Arizona organization involved in the donation.

Ravel ordered FPPC attorneys to demand that Americans for Responsible Leadership disclose the contribution’s original donors,  a complaint by California Common Cause. When they would not, Ravel and Attorney General Kamala Harris opened a formal inquiry into the group's donation to the Small Business Action Committee.

After the California officials demanded the donors behind the contribution reveal themselves, received the refusal, they called it “campaign money laundering.”

CalWatchdog will have a follow up report immediately after the noon press conference.

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