Recently I posted CA fines secretive donor groups, including one linked to Koch brothers. Anonymous political donors are being fined by my home state of California, but sadly, Citizens United is still alive and well, and huge amounts of money are still influencing elections. But at least California officials are targeting on "dark money" groups like those linked to the Koch brothers.
It gets pretty convoluted, but the short version is this: A Republican guy gets millions and shuttles it through a Republican non-profit group that sends the millions to another Republican guy who knows yet another Republican guy who sends it to yet another Republican guy (or something) who eventually funnels it to a California anti-union, anti-tax campaign until uh-oh! Someone noticed. Bam! Busted.
So now those Republicans have multimillion-dollar problems.
Politically active nonprofits have way too much influence on our elections, but finally, some of them are being fined, costing the the GOP millions. A drop in the bucket, sure, but it's a start.
The Los Angeles Times takes it from there, starting with what "dark money" is:
They provide donors a way to influence elections by piping major money around the country until it resurfaces — without their fingerprints — in a campaign. [...]
Many donors did not want to "put their name on … this fight because they didn't want to face the retribution of the unions," Miller told state investigators. Deep-pocketed labor groups were planning major campaign efforts in 2012, and some conservatives were wary of crossing them. [...]
[Republican strategist and Koch brothers consultant Sean Noble] wanted the Virginia group, Americans for Job Security, to transfer the millions he had raised with [GOP consultant Jeff Miller, lead fundraiser for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and for Texas Gov. Rick Perry's 2012 presidential campaign] to Noble's center, and he wanted Noble to relay the money to California campaign committees, obscuring the money trail. [...]
A month before the November election, the whole operation came crashing down.... Miller believed Noble hoped to prevent California authorities "from opening up his books," giving them the keys to an entire network of nonprofits that were distributing money around the country.
The money was improperly reported, and when Republican consultant Tony Russo asked Noble to transfer money, Noble balked. "He couldn't spend it in the final two months of the campaign without jeopardizing the anonymity he had promised his rich donors." Russo handed over $25 million, but only about $15 million ended up back in California, and that sparked an investigation. Hence, the fine.
Follow the L.A. Times link for the whole story. It gets complicated. I know I'm confused, but then again, I usually am.
By the way, wealthy GOP donors: If you're not afraid to "redistribute your wealth" in order to get your way, if you're not afraid to bully your way to a win, if you're not afraid to huff and puff and buy election outcomes, then why are you a-skeered of unions who have way less to spend than you do?