Political Contributions

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Suit Filed Against Arizona Campaign Donor Group

Wednesday was the deadline, and now the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has filed suit in Sacramento Superior Court. The watchdog group wants the Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership to release all documents related to a mysterious $11 million contribution, including emails and texts.

At issue is whether Americans for Responsible Leadership violated state law by accepting donations earmarked for specific campaign purposes in California. The group instead sent a letter to the FPPC saying they had no contributors who had specified that their funds be used in state campaigns.

But Ann Ravel, FPCC Chair, says that is not the issue. “The standard of trust is not whether or not (money) was earmarked, but if those contributors knew or should have known the money would have come to a campaign in California.” 

The FPPC expects a quick decision by the court. It says the November 6th election is drawing near.

The FPPC is the state agency charged with upholding California’s Political Reform Act which includes reporting requirements about the disclosure of donors supporting or opposing state ballot measures.

Unions: Prop 32 Ban on Political Donations Weighted Heavily Against Labor

By Rachel Dornhelm

Ed Kinchley with San Francisco SEIU Chapter 1021 is working the phone bank to encourage members to vote no on Prop. 32. (Photo: Rachel Dornhelm)

Ed Kinchley with San Francisco SEIU Chapter 1021 is working the phone bank to encourage members to vote no on Prop. 32. (Photo: Rachel Dornhelm)

I’m looking squarely at the Capitol building in Sacramento. The grass is manicured and green — the building sparkling white. But to Jake Suski, special interest money in politics keeps the Capitol anything but clean.

“Lawmakers — particularly during legislative seasons — host just a number of fundraisers. I think one day during this August they had 17 different fundraisers in one day,” he tells me.

Suski is the spokesman for Proposition 32. The measure’s backers say they simply want to get rid of special interest money in the Capitol. “Corporate lobbyists ask for their little pet projects to be passed and tell them which bills they don’t like,” Suski says, “and union lobbyists do the same thing on their little pet projects.”

Suski says Prop. 32 would accomplish its goal it in three steps.

  1.  Banning unions and corporations from giving directly to politicians
  2.  Prohibiting government contractors from political giving
  3.  Making it illegal to deduct money from paychecks to use in political campaigns Continue reading