A California grand jury is currently investigating whether corporate America's favorite billionaires illegally funneled $11 million in an unsuccessful attempt to influence two state ballot initiatives last year. The probe is looking at whether David and Charles Koch used a "dark money" group to launder the funds, which is the largest contribution ever disclosed as campaign money laundering in California history.
The Koch-linked group Protect Patient Rights is being looked at as one of the donors that gave money in an unsuccessful effort to defeat Proposition 30, a measure to raise income taxes to pay for education. They may have also given money to pass Proposition 32, which would have taken away workers' rights to political speech. California Teamsters fought hard against Prop 32 and pulled off a stunning victory.
Why all the trouble for the Kochs? The Sacramento Business Journal explains:
Social welfare groups are nonprofit organizations that don’t have to pay taxes or reveal their donors as long as their primary purpose isn’t political campaigning. However, California law does require groups contributing to ballot campaigns to reveal their donors.That didn't happen here. And while a Koch Industries spokesman said the dynamic duo had nothing to do with either ballot initiative, he made clear he was not speaking on behalf of independent entities the brothers have a hand in financially.
The Koch brothers are well known for their political spending. Protect Patient Rights doled out $55 million to political groups to back the corporate class during the 2010 elections. They've never seen an anti-tax, anti-labor or pro-business proposal they didn't like.