-By Peter H Stone

March 24, 2013- California officials have widened an investigation into the source of $11 million that was mysteriously funneled by a few nonprofit groups in 2012 to sway two ballot measures in the state, The Huffington Post has learned.

The state’s election watchdog agency, the Fair Political Practices Commission, which launched the inquiry last November, is working closely with the California attorney general’s office, according to a person familiar with the matter. They have issued about a dozen new subpoenas to individuals and organizations for financial records, according to the person, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the probe.

The latest round of subpoenas represents a major development in the investigation and comes on top of several subpoenas previously sent to the California PAC that spent the $11 million and three nonprofit groups that are not required to reveal their donors, including one with ties to the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

The inquiry was sparked because of a California law requiring contributors to state initiatives be publicly disclosed. Investigators are reviewing how these nonprofit groups were used to shield the identities of donors and attempting to trace the original funding sources. Gary Winuk, a spokesman for the commission, declined to comment, as did Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.

California’s decision to follow this murky million-dollar money trail is one of several recent legal actions around the country aimed at increasing transparency and curbing potential abuses of so-called dark money by politically active, tax-exempt groups known as 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations.



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