Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 4, 2012
California Supreme Court orders nonprofit to face audit

Update (8:24 p.m.) After the state court declined to extend the deadline, Americans for Responsible Leadership said it was attempting to contact the FPPC to comply with the order, while continuing to seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Update (5:08 p.m.): Americans for Responsible Leadership did not submit information to the FPPC by 4 p.m. as ordered and instead has asked the state court to extend its compliance window to 9 a.m. Monday as it seeks a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, according to FPPC chairwoman Ann Ravel.

The California Supreme Court this afternoon ordered an obscure Arizona nonprofit to submit donation records immediately to state regulators related to an $11 million contribution the group gave in October.

The state's highest court issued its unanimous 7-0 decision at 3 p.m. after a telephone conference and gave Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership until 4 p.m. to comply.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission had asked the Supreme Court to force ARL to turn over e-mails and transactions data behind the donation, whose specific donors the group has never disclosed. The group gave $11 million to a business campaign committee established to oppose Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30, and support a measure that would restrict union dues collection, Proposition 32.

The FPPC wants to review the information to determine before Tuesday's election whether ARL violated state rules requiring nonprofits to disclose donors if their money was earmarked for a specific initiative. If the FPPC finds a violation, it remains to be seen whether there is enough time to invoke administrative or legal procedures that would force ARL to disclose its donors by Tuesday.

ARL is directed by lesser-known Arizona GOP activists, and the group hired attorneys from a Virginia-based law firm with longstanding Republican National Committee ties.

November 4, 2012
VIDEO: Jerry Brown campaigns for tax measure at LA churches

LOS ANGELES - The choir sang, morning announcements were made and Mildred Rodgers watched as Gov. Jerry Brown took the pulpit at West Angeles Church of God in Christ.

She has grown accustomed to politicians visiting in elections years.

"Every voting season," Rodgers said. "It's really funny when we get two running for the same (office)."

This morning there was only Brown, campaigning in four traditionally black churches here for his ballot initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners. The churches Brown visited in Los Angeles' poorer neighborhoods have hosted Brown before, and also Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The congregations are large - the West Angeles church has more than 25,000 members - and the constituency reliably Democratic.

At West Angeles, Brown told the congregation a vote for his measure, Proposition 30, is a Christian act.

"It's like tithing," said Brown, a Democrat. "You've got to pay. And it's not about me, it's about us, it's about we, it's about us together."

In brief remarks at each church, Brown referred to the Gospel of Luke, as he has previously in the campaign.

"We are asking those who have paid the most money, those who've been most blessed, to give a little back in our time of need," Brown said at his last stop, at Ward AME Church.

The 74-year-old, third-term governor said he has been coming to Ward for 40 years, since he was secretary of state.

"Not that often," Brown said. "But when it counts. And it counts on Tuesday."

Brown finished speaking. He was uncharacteristically ahead of schedule and on his way to phone union members to encourage them to vote.

"Fun, isn't it?" Brown said, turning to a reporter. "Very interesting, very enthusiastic. And if you notice one thing: In churches, people are voting more, they're more knowledgeable, more committed."

Churchgoers and union members, he said, "perform a very important educative function."

Rodgers is glad so many politicians visit. It is important to listen to them, she said, and to pray for them.

"We are connected with the governor," Rodgers said.

She looked up.

"You know, the head governor."


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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