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Judge Tentatively Rules State Can Examine $11 Million Mystery Donation

Oct 31, 2012

A California judge has tentatively ruled that the state can examine the sources behind an Arizona nonprofit that made an $11 million political contribution. 

The Phoenix-based group Americans for Responsible Leadership made the donation to a committee working to defeat Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32.

Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang ruled that the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission can conduct an audit to determine if the donation was made in compliance with state regulations.

The FPPC argues that disclosure rules require the nonprofit to reveal its donors, if funds were earmarked for a ballot initiative. If that is the case, then the donors would have to be disclosed.

The judge said California voters could suffer irreparable harm because they may never know the donors they potentially have the right to know.

Lawyers for both the state and Americans for Responsible Leadership will argue their sides today before a final ruling is granted.