Politics, government and public life for Southern California

CA engineering trade group one source of late donation to proposition campaigns

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Remember the $11 million mystery donation that ignited a legal skirmish in California just days before the November election?  

An Arizona group called Americans For Responsible Leadership (ARL) donated the money to the Small Business Action Committee’s campaign to defeat Prop 30 — Governor Brown’s tax hike — and pass Prop 32 — a measure that would have undermined the political influence of  unions in California.

The states' campaign finance watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, asked for more information about the donors. ARL refused.

Just one day before the election, under orders from California’s Supreme Court, the Small Business Action Committee revealed the money orginated with a group in Virginia called Americans for Job Security,  which sent it to the Center to Protect Patients' Rights in Arizona, which transferred it to ARL.

That revelation left a big, fat question mark about who exactly gave the money. Now, there is some clarity about a small portion of the funds.

Dan Morain’s article in today’s Sacramento Bee reports the American Council of Engineering Companies in California (ACEC-CA) gave $400,000 to Americans for Job Security.   

Morain quotes the trade group’s director denying that he knew the money was for the No on 30/Yes on Prop 32 campaigns.  But Morain found that the Sierra Chapter of the group knew exactly what the money was for and brazenly posted instructions on its website advising members to send donations to ARL if they wanted to remain anonymous.

The Professional Engineers in California Government released a statement Monday, condemning the actions of ACEC. a group it calls  “the voice of California’s private consulting engineering and land surveying firms.”

The statement also included a copy of the ACEC’s campaign contribution report on the $400,000 donation to ARL.

That’s $400,000 down and $10.6 million to go. The Fair Political Practices Commission is working on it.




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