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The Shadowy Dark Money Groups Behind California's Proposition 32

Monday, 05 November 2012 09:50 By John Logan, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Prop 32 is arguably the most deceptive initiative in the hundred-year history of ballot propositions in California. Indeed, if California had a Truth-In-Politics Act, some of its sponsors may well be facing lengthy spells in San Quentin.

The so-called "stop special interest money now" initiative is a cynical attempt to mislead voters by claiming it would reduce the influence of big money in Sacramento. It wouldn't. On the contrary, it would make the corruption of our elections by big money much worse.

Nothing exposes the big lie behind Prop. 32 quite like the big money special interests that are funding it.

Shadowy out-of-state groups have poured millions of dollars into the Prop. 32 campaign. Arizona-based "Americans for Responsible Leadership," whose $11 million check is the largest-ever secret political donation in California, and Iowa-based "America Future Fund" both refuse to disclose where their money comes from.

The Superior Court has ordered Americans for Responsible Leadership to come clean, stating that Californians will suffer "irreparable harm" if its funders remain secret. Its Virginia-based law firm, known as "ground zero for dark money" in 2012, has refused and appealed, hoping to hide its Prop. 32 millions until after the election.

The Prop. 32 campaign doesn't even want us to know who is trying to buy our elections.

These out-of-state groups have links to billionaire Koch brothers and GOP operative Karl Rove. They are prime examples of the corrosive impact of big money on our elections. No one could have less credibility when it comes to taking special interest money out of politics.

The Prop. 32 campaign claims not to know where its secret millions come from but has defended the right of the out-of-state scams to "put their voice in the debate." Most likely, billionaire conservative activists such as the Kochs are using these front organizations to bypass California's campaign disclosure laws. But what is crystal clear is that the sham "non-profits" are the special interests – and they would be untouched by Prop. 32

Some actual Californians are also bankrolling the deceptive initiative. Another big money special interest funding Prop. 32 is conservative activist and son of the billionaire partner of Warren Buffet, Charles Munger Jr. Munger, who would be free to spend unlimited money under Prop. 32, has dropped $35 million so far.

Munger's millions, like those of the Arizona Super PAC, have been funneled through the "Small Business Action Committee," an organization that is neither small nor business (unless you consider using secret funds to buy elections a business). It's a big money conservative Super PAC run by long-time a longtime GOP operative. And it is another special interest that would be untouched by Prop. 32.

This is why Prop. 32 is more appropriate called the Billionaires' Bill of Rights.

Who thought up this model of deception in the first place? That would be GOP strategists Michael Capaldi and Thomas Hiltachk, geniuses when it comes to ballot initiatives that say one thing but do exactly the opposite.

Prop. 32 is written by big money special interests for big money special interests. Its shadowy out-of-state bankers want us to believe that their money laundering operations support genuine campaign finance reform.

This is one of the most cynical efforts ever to buy an election in California through deception. Voters should reject Prop. 32 out of hand.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

John Logan

John Logan is a professor and director of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University.


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The Shadowy Dark Money Groups Behind California's Proposition 32

Monday, 05 November 2012 09:50 By John Logan, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Prop 32 is arguably the most deceptive initiative in the hundred-year history of ballot propositions in California. Indeed, if California had a Truth-In-Politics Act, some of its sponsors may well be facing lengthy spells in San Quentin.

The so-called "stop special interest money now" initiative is a cynical attempt to mislead voters by claiming it would reduce the influence of big money in Sacramento. It wouldn't. On the contrary, it would make the corruption of our elections by big money much worse.

Nothing exposes the big lie behind Prop. 32 quite like the big money special interests that are funding it.

Shadowy out-of-state groups have poured millions of dollars into the Prop. 32 campaign. Arizona-based "Americans for Responsible Leadership," whose $11 million check is the largest-ever secret political donation in California, and Iowa-based "America Future Fund" both refuse to disclose where their money comes from.

The Superior Court has ordered Americans for Responsible Leadership to come clean, stating that Californians will suffer "irreparable harm" if its funders remain secret. Its Virginia-based law firm, known as "ground zero for dark money" in 2012, has refused and appealed, hoping to hide its Prop. 32 millions until after the election.

The Prop. 32 campaign doesn't even want us to know who is trying to buy our elections.

These out-of-state groups have links to billionaire Koch brothers and GOP operative Karl Rove. They are prime examples of the corrosive impact of big money on our elections. No one could have less credibility when it comes to taking special interest money out of politics.

The Prop. 32 campaign claims not to know where its secret millions come from but has defended the right of the out-of-state scams to "put their voice in the debate." Most likely, billionaire conservative activists such as the Kochs are using these front organizations to bypass California's campaign disclosure laws. But what is crystal clear is that the sham "non-profits" are the special interests – and they would be untouched by Prop. 32

Some actual Californians are also bankrolling the deceptive initiative. Another big money special interest funding Prop. 32 is conservative activist and son of the billionaire partner of Warren Buffet, Charles Munger Jr. Munger, who would be free to spend unlimited money under Prop. 32, has dropped $35 million so far.

Munger's millions, like those of the Arizona Super PAC, have been funneled through the "Small Business Action Committee," an organization that is neither small nor business (unless you consider using secret funds to buy elections a business). It's a big money conservative Super PAC run by long-time a longtime GOP operative. And it is another special interest that would be untouched by Prop. 32.

This is why Prop. 32 is more appropriate called the Billionaires' Bill of Rights.

Who thought up this model of deception in the first place? That would be GOP strategists Michael Capaldi and Thomas Hiltachk, geniuses when it comes to ballot initiatives that say one thing but do exactly the opposite.

Prop. 32 is written by big money special interests for big money special interests. Its shadowy out-of-state bankers want us to believe that their money laundering operations support genuine campaign finance reform.

This is one of the most cynical efforts ever to buy an election in California through deception. Voters should reject Prop. 32 out of hand.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

John Logan

John Logan is a professor and director of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus