A shadowy Arizona group has inserted itself into California politics by pouring $11 million into a campaign fighting Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-hike initiative and backing a measure to strip unions of their ability to collect dues for political purposes.
The Americans for Responsible Leadership donated the money to the Small Business Action Committee, a California group that has been waging simultaneous TV and radio wars against Proposition 30 and for Proposition 32. The former raises taxes on sales and the wealthy; the latter curbs labor's ability to use members' dues for campaigns.
But if anyone wants to know who's behind the Arizona group, they won't get that chance, even in a state with the most rigorous campaign disclosure laws in the nation. Its donors don't have to be disclosed because it was formed under the IRS code 501(c) 4, designed for nonprofit groups operating as social welfare organizations. But the code has a loophole that allows the groups to participate in politics.
The development sent shock waves through two campaigns -- the labor-backed No on Proposition 32 and Brown's Proposition 30.