Supporters of Proposition 32 claim that their campaign finance initiative "cuts the money tie between special interests and politicians." Not close to being true. And an $11 million donation from a shadowy Arizona non-profit illustrates why.
Prop. 32 would ban unions and corporations from using automatic paycheck deductions to raise money for political purposes. While that might sound like a balanced way to blunt big-money politics, this initiative would hit labor unions disproportionately. Corporate interests are increasingly dumping money into independent expenditure campaigns, which Prop. 32 would not touch. Nor would Prop. 32 stop scam nonprofits from influencing elections. Indeed, this initiative is now the beneficiary of one.
This week, a newly incorporated Arizona non-profit, Americans for Responsible Leadership, gave $11 million to pass Prop. 32 and defeat Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Prop. 30. Previously, the Iowa-based American Future Fund gave $4 million for advertising in support of Prop. 32. Who are the donors behind these multi-million-dollar power plays? It is impossible to know.
As The Sacramento Bee reported Thursday, non-profits under state law can shield donors, so long as the money is not earmarked for a specific purpose or ballot measure.
This group's money is coming from a rich individual or individuals who don't want their fingerprints on an effort to swing a California election.