Disclosure by Arizona nonprofit shows ties to Koch brothers
This post has been updated at 12:15 p.m.
For anyone seeking the original source of the $11 million political donation from an obscure Arizona nonprofit, Monday morning's disclosure was unsatisfying. The out-of-state group said only that the money came from other nonprofits.
But the disclosure was revealing in its own way, showing how a chain of blandly named organizations can shuttle money around the country with little transparency. It also showed more ties to Charles and David Koch, billionaire energy executives and secretive Republican donors.
State authorities say the money went from the Virginia-based Americans for Job Security to the Center to Protect Patient Rights, which has a mailing address outside of Phoenix. Then the money was transferred to Americans for Responsible Leadership, based nearby in Arizona.
Americans for Responsible Leadership gave the $11 million to a California campaign committee fighting Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-hike plan, Proposition 30, and pushing a separate ballot measure curbing unions' political influence, Proposition 32.
The money appears to have moved from nonprofit to nonprofit to nonprofit to committee within a matter of days in October, according to letters filed with state authorities.
Authorities have been investigating the donation because California regulations say contributors must be identified if they give to nonprofits with the intention of spending money on state campaigns. On Monday, the Fair Political Practices Commission said all of the transfers are proof of "campaign money laundering."
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris said the investigation would continue.
"This case is not over," she said. "And it will not be over tomorrow," Election Day.
The Center to Protect Patient Rights is closely tied to the Koch brothers, and it was a primary conduit for anonymous political money in the 2010 midterm election.
There are other signs that Americans for Responsible Leadership is part of a broad constellation of secretive Republican groups. It is being represented by a prominent Virginia-based law firm, Holtzman Vogel Josefiak, that has worked for other conservative advocacy organizations that conceal their donors. The firm also shares an address with American Crossroads, a powerful fundraising organization founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove.
The firm's clients include the American Future Fund, which gave $4 million earlier this year to push Proposition 32. The Iowa-based group is among two dozen Republican-allied groups that received millions of dollars from the Center to Protect Patient Rights during the 2010 midterm elections.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Koch Industries said the Koch brothers were not involved in either of the campaigns supported by the $11 million from the Arizona group.
"We have not contributed to any group with the intent of helping Proposition 32 or defeating Proposition 30 in California," Melissa Cohlmia said.Stephen DeMaura, president of Americans for Job Security, did not return calls and an email seeking comment on his group’s involvement in the California election. Neither did Sean Noble, a political operative running the Center to Protect Patient Rights.
Photo: The post office in Arizona where the Center to Protect Patient Rights lists its mailing address. Credit: Matthew Trotter / For The Times