Arizona political group dumps $11 million into California races
An obscure Arizona political group pumped $11 million into California politics this week, shaking up two of this year's most closely watched campaigns.
The group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, gave the money to the Small Business Action Committee, which is fighting Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-hike campaign and supporting a ballot measure that would limit union's political clout.
The committee has already received $22 million from Charles Munger Jr., a big-ticket Republican donor.
Steve Smith of the California Labor Federation quickly denounced the donation as "dark money." Dan Newman, a spokesman for Brown's tax campaign, said it came from "shadowy out-of-state tea partiers."
Americans for Responsible Leadership is led by a trio of Republican businessmen, according to a filing with a state agency in Arizona. The group is also fighting an attempt in that state to raise the sales tax to support schools.
If the group's $11 million is used to attack Brown's tax measure, Proposition 30, it could weaken its already ebbing position in the polls.
The money could also be used to boost Proposition 32, which would prevent union dues from being used for political purposes. A recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll said the measure doesn't have enough support to pass, but unions have been forced to mount a costly opposition campaign to defeat it.
Photo: Union workers rally at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles earlier this year. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times