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November 06, 2012

Calif. Agency Says Ariz. Nonprofit 'Laundered' Campaign Money

The Arizona group whose $11-million contribution to California ballot-question campaigns set off an intense pre-election court battle revealed on Monday that the donation was provided by two other nonprofits, a move California regulators termed "campaign money laundering," The Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times report.

Americans for Responsible Leadership, which had fought to keep the donors secret, said it was an intermediary for money routed over the course of a few days last month from Americans for Job Security and the Center to Protect Patient Rights, which are 501(c)(4) groups with ties to Republican and conservative organizations. The funds ended up with a California political committee campaigning against Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-increase plan and for a measure to curb unions' political spending.

The Arizona group disclosed the donor organizations in a settlement with California's Fair Political Practices Commission, which on Sunday secured a state Supreme Court order requiring Americans for Responsible Leadership to identify the source of the contributions. Attorney General Kamala Harris of California said her office is reviewing whether to pursue civil or criminal charges related to the $11-million donation.