Prop. 32: Group linked to Koch brothers gives $4 million [updated]
A group with ties to the conservative billionaire Koch brothers has dropped $4 million to pass a ballot measure that would severely limit the political activity of labor unions.
The new committee has just one donation -- $4 million from the American Future Fund, a conservative nonprofit organization whose stated mission is to promote “conservative and free-market principles.”
The new committee, the California Future Fund for Free Markets, was opened Friday.
[Updated 3:42 p.m. A spokesman for the Yes on Proposition 32 campaign noted that the money came into a separate committee, and that the official campaign sponsors knew nothing about the donation. "We have absolutely nothing to do with it," said Yes on 32 spokesman Jake Suski.
When asked if the new money undermined the campaign's claims that unions and corporations would be equally impacted by the measure, he said, "Prop. 32 goes as far as the law allows in curbing political donations from corporations and unions."]
No on 32 spokesman Brian Browkaw said the donation illustrated that the initiative would hurt unions while leaving corporate influence in tact. "The very same corporate special interests who carefully exempted themselves from Prop 32 and who stand to benefit from its passage – Big Oil, billionaire businessmen and the Super PACs linked to the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove – are now spending millions to pass Prop 32 and advance their interests at the expense of everyday Californians," he said .]
The donation comes as new polls show support for Proposition 32 slipping from its original highs of more than 60% support among likely voters. Proponents say it would limit political activities of corporations and labor unions, but its opponents, led by the state’s largest worker groups, say it is aimed at tempering unions’ political influence while leaving wide loopholes for corporations to funnel millions into state campaigns.
Voters rejected two similar measures – one in 1996 and another backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005.
--Anthony York in Sacramento