Crossroads GPS, the dark money political
organization linked to Republican operative Karl Rove, apparently gave $2 million last year to Americans for Job Security, a group that was involved in a scheme in California to funnel $11 million into efforts aimed at two state ballot initiatives.
A state investigation into the movement of money found that AJS, also a dark money nonprofit, sent the $11 million through three other organizations in an attempt to hide the identities of its donors. California election authorities called it "the largest contribution ever disclosed as campaign money-laundering in California history" and demanded disclosure of the donors.
In a settlement today, after a grand jury investigation, the Center to Protect Patient Rights and Americans for Responsible Leadership -- two of the groups through which money was channeled -- agreed to pay a fine of $500,000 each, which together amounts to the largest campaign-reporting fine ever levied by the watchdog agency. CPPR has been a major clearinghouse of contributions to other conservative dark money groups. Both CPPR and ARL have strong ties to the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, major donors to conservative political causes. CPPR received $115 million from the Koch-spearheaded group Freedom Partners last year.
In addition, the agency released a list of AJS donors the state obtained in its investigation. The document, much of which is redacted, contains enough information to identify some of the large donors.
Some other major Republican donors are on the list, such as Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, who gave $250,000 each. The Adelsons were major donors to Republican super PACs in 2012, giving nearly $100 million to such groups as American Crossroads (the super PAC affiliate of Crossroads GPS) and the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.
Other donors included:
- Jesse Rogers of Altman Capital, $450,000
- Greg Penner of Wal Mart, $500,000
- Margaret Bloomfield of Baron Real Estate Fund, $500,000
- Glen Stearns and Stearns Lending, $250,000
- The Tulley and Elise Friedman Fund, $100,000
- The American Council of Engineering Companies of California, $500,000
- Wayne Hughes, $450,000
- Hitchcock Automotive, $100,000
According to the Associated Press, CPPR said that the settlement included a recognition by the state that the group didn't intend to conceal information but made a mistake "largely because it had never previously made any contributions" in California. "The Commission today recognized that CPPR acted in 'good faith' and that there was absolutely no intent to violate campaign reporting rules," attorney Malcolm Segal said in a statement.
A call and email to Crossroads GPS were not returned at the time of this post.