SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Ending a mystery that captivated the run-up to Election Day, the Arizona group behind an anonymous $11 million donation revealed under court order Monday that the shadowy donation was laundered through two groups, including 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 donation, the largest anonymous contribution to a ballot measure campaign in California history, was made to the Small Business Action Committee, a conservative group 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.
“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. We agreed to do this without an audit because we wanted to get information to the public before the election. But we in no way agreed this would preclude further action.”
Ravel said Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership conceded it was the intermediary and not the true source of the contribution. The true source was Americans for Job Security and was made through a second intermediary, the Center to Protect Patient Rights, she said.
Since the late 1990s, Americans for Job Security has been described by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics as “pro-Republican,” “pro-business” and “established to directly counter labor’s influence.”
The Center to Protect Patient Rights is run by Sean Noble, an operative of the Koch brothers. Noble admitted to the FPPC that the Center to Protect Patient Rights received $11 million from Americans for Job Security.
The admission of money laundering is a misdemeanor, but a conspiracy to commit money laundering is a felony.
The revelation came after a 7-0 decision by the state Supreme Court on Sunday ordering attorneys for Americans For Responsible Leadership to immediately hand over documents related to the $11 million donation to the California business PAC.
After turning to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking another delay, attorneys backed down.