The Center to Protect Patient Rights and Americans for Responsible Leadership are two groups that are part of Charles and David Koch’s web of political action committees, dumping massive amounts of money into races all over the country to further their agenda. Apparently in 2012, however, both groups violated California’s campaign finance laws, and as a result they are being hit the largest fine for such violations in the state’s history. $11 million was dumped by the two Koch groups into campaigns that opposed ballot initiatives that raised California’s sales income taxes among other things. None of the money they spent was done very well however, as they came out on the losing end of them all. California Fair Political Practices Commission and the state’s Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a lawsuit alleging that the funds had been improperly documented, resulting in a $1 million dollar fine — the largest in the state’s history for such a violation — and the forfeiture of $15 million in invalid campaign contributions now belongs to the state’s general fund. “These groups exploit loopholes in state law to undermine the clear purpose of the law,” said Ann Ravel, chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. In the post-Citizens United American political landscape, more progressive states are taking a hard line approach to sussing-out the source of so-called “dark money,” campaign contributions funneled through various PACs and SuperPACs in an effort to cloak the actual source of the campaign contributions. The $1 million settlement represents the third-largest campaign finance related fine in the nation’s history, though with there being so much money being pumped into elections nationwide by the Koch brothers, it’s hard to see how a single fine of this amount will do much to stem the tide flowing in, but it’s certainly a start.
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