Nonprofit Complies With Court Order to Name Ballot Campaign Donors

Monday, 05 Nov 2012 04:48 PM


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An Arizona-based nonprofit group that has given $11 million to two politically conservative ballot proposition campaigns in California revealed names of groups behind the donations on Monday after losing a court battle to keep their identity secret, state officials said.

However, despite the disclosures, the actual origin of the funds remains unclear, as the California Fair Political Practices Commission, which had gone to court to identify the donors, said it had yet to receive the names of individuals or corporations behind the related groups.

The Arizona-based nonprofit group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, which gave $11 million to a conservative group on two propositions, said it received the money from an organization called Americans for Job Security, a pro-business, issue advocacy group.

The Fair Political Practices Commission, California's election watchdog, said Americans for Responsible Leadership had told the agency that Americans for Job Security made the donation through another group, the Center to Protect Patients' Rights.

Commission chairwoman Ann Ravel said Americans for Responsible Leadership had disclosed the origin of its contributions as required under a ruling on Sunday by the California Supreme Court, but the watchdog was pushing for more information.

"While we did not get a lot of information about the individual human donors, ultimately we hope that we will be able to obtain that. This is not the end of the road," Ravel told Reuters.

The development marked the latest turn in a legal battle for public disclosure of the original sources of the donation, which sought to defeat a tax ballot initiative sponsored by Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown, and to win passage of a separate measure to ban payroll deductions for political activities, which is seen as a potential blow to labor unions.

The $11 million donation was one of the single largest contributions in the 2012 election season in California, and is also the largest out-of-state donation from one independent nonprofit to another for the purposes of influencing an election.

The election watchdog sued the Arizona-based nonprofit last month for access to information about its donors before Tuesday's election in order to evaluate whether its donations complied with California campaign finance laws.

The Arizona group donated $11 million to the Small Business Action Committee PAC on Oct. 15, according to the lawsuit.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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