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Friday, April 18, 2014

California Investigation Reveals Some Donors in Dark Money Scheme

Have you been re-electing a neocon, fascist, or Marxist? Just knowing who's funding your representatives can tell you a lot!
No more "lesser of two evils" - As Americans we demand NO evil!

Senator Mitch McConnell's Ties With, American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS, U.S. Chamber Of Commerce

by Viveca Novak on October 24, 2013 7:56 PM 

Update, Oct. 25: We have updated this post to more fully explain how money flowed between the groups investigated by California authorities.

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.

Crossroads GPS spent more than $70 million on independent expenditures in the 2012 elections, but apparently had enough to give to other dark money groups as well.

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
The Los Angeles Times identified other donors: The Fisher family, for instance, which owns the Gap clothing empire, gave more than $9 million, according to the Times.

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.

The money flowed like this: AJS raised $29 million. It gave nearly $25 million of it to CPPR, which in turn gave $18 million to Americans for Responsible Leadership. ARL gave $11 million to the Small Business Action Committee, which put it toward fighting one state ballot initiative that would have meant higher taxes and supporting another that would have reduced the political power of labor unions. The Small Business committee was ordered Thursday to pay $11 million to the state. 

CPPR also gave $7 million to the American Future Fund, which sent $4 million on to the California Future Fund for Free Markets. The California group, which supported the anti-union ballot measure, was ordered by the state watchdog agency to pay a penalty equivalent to the sum it received. None of those organizations disclose their donors, though they are all engage in extensive political activity. The American Future Fund spent more than $25 million at the federal level in the 2012 elections.

A call and email to Crossroads GPS were not returned at the time of this post.