Who is behind the controversial Arizona donation? [Google+ hangout]
Reporter Chris Megerian from the Times' Sacramento Bureau will join city editor Shelby Grad for a Google+ hangout at 12:30 p.m. to discuss the secret donors behind an $11-million contribution to a California campaign fund opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 and in support of Proposition 32.
After days of legal battles between California regulators and attorneys for the Arizona group behind the donation, the California Supreme Court ordered the group to turn over records that could identify the donors .
The $11 million went to a committee that is fighting tax increases proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in Proposition 30 and promoting an initiative that could limit political spending by unions, Proposition 32. The donation has been among the most controversial moves of this election season, with Brown railing against the "shadowy" contributors at campaign appearances.
The case, which has the potential to reshape a growing sector of political giving, has put California at the forefront of a national debate over concealed political donations. Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, which initially sued the Arizona group, called the California high court's decision historic.
It all began with a complaint from activists at Common Cause, who said the $11-million donation from Americans for Responsible Leadership violated a new California regulation. Federal law allows nonprofits to keep the identities of their donors confidential, but a rule implemented here in May says contributors must be identified if they give to nonprofits with the intention of spending money on state campaigns.