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October 20, 2012

The Buzz: California Common Cause asks FPPC to investigate mystery Arizona money

State investigation sought into $11 million donation

As details emerge about an Arizona nonprofit that dumped $11 million into California politics this week, California Common Cause called Friday for an investigation into who's behind the money.

The group asked the state's political watchdog agency to examine Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership and its contribution to a committee backing Proposition 32, and opposing Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30.

"You know, $11 million doesn't just drop out of the sky," said Derek Cressman, Western regional director for Common Cause.

The group has not reported its donors to officials in either Arizona or California.

In its request to the Fair Political Practices Commission, Common Cause suggested the group is part of a larger effort that includes national conservative political activists with deep pockets such as Charles and David Koch and Republican strategist Karl Rove (Rove's American Crossroads shares an office suite with the lawyers who incorporated Americans for Responsible Leadership).

Common Cause cites new campaign disclosure rules as the basis for an investigation. But even if the FPPC agrees, it's likely it would drag on well after the Nov. 6 election.

CAPITOL WATCH

Firefighters are marking the 10th anniversary of the California Firefighters Memorial in Capitol Park this weekend, starting with an evening vigil Friday and continuing today with the annual memorial ceremony at 11:30 a.m. honoring the fallen. Organizers say that 40 more names will be added to the 1,200 or so that are already etched into the memorial wall.

WORTH REPEATING

"The main objection is they are a state agency and they should be focusing on getting students to graduate from college."

HECTOR BARAJAS, Senate Republican Caucus spokesman, complaining to the Los Angeles Times that a first-ever report card – in which California State University administrators graded legislators on their votes on education-related bills – wasn't a proper use of taxpayer resources

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