November 5, 2012, San Jose Mercury News (Silicon Valley’s leading newspaper)
Ending some but not all of the mystery behind an anonymous $11 million donation, an Arizona group revealed under court order … that the money it pumped into California’s ballot wars was funneled through two groups — one tied to David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who have played a huge role in spreading anonymous political cash around the country. The two conservative groups, Americans for Job Security and the Center to Protect Patient Rights, are part of a tangled web of so-called dark donors who operate largely out of public view, shielded by their status as nonprofit advocacy groups that are supposedly not involved primarily in politics. While the groups have been identified, however, individual donors who have bankrolled them remain a mystery. “This isn’t going to stop here,” said Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state’s political watchdog. “They admitted to money laundering.” The FPPC determined that the Arizona group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, had violated California campaign law. Money laundering — sending money through multiple sources to conceal the original donor — is a misdemeanor. But a conspiracy to commit money laundering is a felony. The donation, the largest anonymous contribution to a ballot measure campaign in California history, was made to the Small Business Action Committee, a conservative PAC running a campaign for Proposition 32, the measure that would curb labor’s ability to collect political cash, and against Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-hike initiative.
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