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Correction: Calif. Campaign-Secret Donation story
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - In a story Jan. 24 about a campaign committee that paid the state $300,000 after an investigation by California’s political watchdog agency, The Associated Press reported erroneously the reasons for the penalty against the Small Business Action Committee. The committee was required to return the money because two groups that gave it improperly concealed their contributions, not because the committee incorrectly reported the contributions.
A corrected version of the story is below:
California collects $300,000 in campaign case
California collects $300,000 in ethics case against 2 campaign committees that owe $15 million
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California’s political watchdog agency said Friday it has collected $300,000 from one of two campaign committees that received large contributions transferred from shadowy, out-of-state groups in a case that prompted the largest ethics fine in state history.
In separate agreements filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, the two committees also agreed to repay $15 million in contributions, as ordered by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
However, it is unlikely that most of that will be recovered because the money was spent on the campaigns in the 2012 election.
The groups that received the campaign donations - the Small Business Action Committee and the California Future Fund - spent heavily in the final days of the election. Their goal was to thwart Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative and pass a measure that would have restricted the power of unions.
Voters approved the tax measure and rejected the union initiative.
The groups received the money from groups based in numerous states, including Arizona, Iowa and Virginia.
After tracing the source of the cash, state investigators described the money as “part of the ‘Koch Brothers Network’ of dark money political nonprofit corporations,” referring to billionaire brothers Charles and David H. Koch, who have given millions of dollars to conservative causes across the country.
“Recovering an initial $300,000 is a win for Californians and for campaign finance disclosure,” FPPC Enforcement Chief Gary Winuk said, adding that the settlements should be a significant deterrent for other groups seeking to obscure the sources of campaign donations.
The California Future Fund, which was ordered to repay $4 million, has since disbanded. The Laguna Niguel-based Small Business Action Committee agreed to make the $300,000 payment and also will be disbanded, said its president, Joel Fox.
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