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Signs of buyers remorse over Arizona donation

November 13, 2012 |  7:00 am

Jason Torchinsky, an attorney for Americans for Responsible Leadership, argues against a campaign finance audit. The group's $11 million spent on California's election failed to sway voters.

In the wake of Republican losses on election day in California, some conservative operatives say an $11-million donation from an obscure Arizona nonprofit may have been more trouble than it was worth.

The controversy over the anonymous donation led to court battles and fiery stump speeches but failed to tip the scales in Republicans' favor.

The full story ran in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times.

The $11 million went to oppose Gov. Jerry Brown's tax hikes, Proposition 30, and push a ballot measure to curb unions' political fundraising, Proposition 32. Voters approved the governor's tax plan and rejected the proposal to reduce labor's influence in California politics.

Aaron McLear, a Republican strategist who  opposed the tax campaign, said the donation allowed Brown to "create a bigger boogeyman than Sacramento politicians, which is hard to do."

California's campaign finance watchdog sued the nonprofit, Americans for Responsible Leadership, in an attempt to unmask its donors. The group eventually revealed that it got the money from other nonprofits, and authorities say their investigation is ongoing.

Federal law allows nonprofits to keep donors confidential, but California regulations require that donors be disclosed if they give to nonprofits with the intention of spending on state campaigns.

ALSO:

Disclosure of Arizona group's donors yields more mystery

Secret Arizona donation failed to dent Democrats and unions

Can Gov. Jerry Brown turn Arizona controversy into votes for tax plan?

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
twitter.com/chrismegerian

Photo: Jason Torchinsky, an attorney for Americans for Responsible Leadership, argues against a campaign finance audit on Wednesday in Superior Court in Sacramento. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press
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