Author Topic: No Evidence Koch Brothers Were Involved in California Campaign Finance Violations False Accusations by Obama FEC Appointee Exposed  (Read 504 times)

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Offline Rapunzel

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No Evidence Koch Brothers Were Involved in California Campaign Finance Violations
False Accusations by Obama FEC Appointee Exposed

BY: Adam Kennedy
October 25, 2013 5:20 pm

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (CFPPC) is attempting to link the Koch brothers to violations of campaign finance disclosure laws without any evidence the Koch’s were involved.

Ann Ravel, the outgoing chair of the CFPPC, has accused libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch of funneling “dark money” into two ballot initiatives in 2012 despite the fact that the Kochs did not donate directly or indirectly to either measure.

Two nonprofit groups, the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR) and Americans for Responsible Leadership (ARL), reached a civil settlement with the California Commission on Thursday, agreeing to pay a $1 million fine.

The groups failed to disclose financial contributions used against Proposition 30, a tax hike on the wealthy, and in support of Proposition 32, which would have prohibited unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Koch Industries actually opposed the union measure, which was ultimately defeated by California voters.

The settlement arose out of contributions worth $15 million to two California committees that were “not properly reported.” The funding was originally raised by Americans for Job Security, a nonprofit based in Virginia, then distributed to CPPR.

CPPR was cited for giving $11 million to ARL, which was transferred to the Small Business Action Committee in California, without properly disclosing they were the source. Another $4.08 million donation was given to the California Future Fund for Free Markets, using the American Future Fund as an intermediary.

As a result of the settlement, the California committees will have to forfeit the $15 million in contributions to the state.

Ravel, a Democrat nominated by President Barack Obama to join the Federal Election Commission (FEC), has accused the Kochs of funneling “dark money” into the initiatives, though they have no formal ties to any of the groups involved. She was confirmed for the FEC, an “independent regulatory agency,” last month.

The commission called CPPR “the key nonprofit in the Koch Brothers’ dark money network of nonprofit corporations” in a press release announcing the settlement and Ravel herself has said the money was transferred to the “Koch network.”

“We have been on the record, since Nov. 5 2012, as definitively not involved in the Proposition 32 issue in California,” Koch Industries said in a statement.

“We did not support, either directly or indirectly, this ballot initiative, which would have restricted public and private sector employees’ rights to contribute to candidates,” Koch said. “The pronoun ‘we’ refers to Koch Industries and its corporate entities; Charles Koch; David Koch; and their foundations.”

“In addition, we did not give directly or indirectly to any non-profit group in support of this ballot initiative,” they said.

Numerous news reports have tried to link the Kochs to the funding, citing Sean Noble, founder of CPPR, who had worked as a consultant to Koch Industries in the past. The group has no formal ties to the Koch brothers.

Ravel said during a press conference on Thursday that Americans for Job Security sent money to the “Koch network,” which has “tentacles all over the country.”

But when asked about the $11 million donation, she had no evidence that any of the funding was from the Kochs.

“I don’t believe we know what money was included in the $11 million, and I think that was part of the purpose of the exchange,” Ravel said.

“Ms. Ravel’s comments about Koch are unfounded and without factual basis, as she acknowledged in her press conference,” said Melissa Cohlmia, communications director for Koch Industries.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline EC

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On the one hand - absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I know little about the Koch brothers, and the little I know seems positive, but there is always a lingering suspicion when billionaires start financing candidates. We feel that way about Soros (with an extra flip of bitterness from me - I got shafted in '87) and should rightly do so at anyone who seems to be buying influence.

On the other hand - It smells like a fishing expedition. One using years old bait. Sling the mud and hope something sticks in the public perception.

On the gripping hand - it is California. Money will be extorted in any way possible.
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Offline Rapunzel

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The Koch Brothers: Always the Story, Even When They Aren’t

The Left’s obsession with Charles and David Koch continues unabated. Today’s exhibit: this New York Times article on a press conference by California campaign finance officials on a fine that they levied against an Arizona group called the Center to Protect Patient Rights. For the Times, the Kochs are the story; the article is headlined, “Group Linked to Kochs Admits to Campaign Finance Violations.”

The violation occurred in connection with two California ballot propositions, #30, which would have increased taxes, and #32, which limited unions’ use of automatic payroll deductions to fund political campaigns. The Times begins:

    A secretive nonprofit group with ties to the billionaire conservative businessmen Charles and David Koch admitted to improperly failing to disclose more than $15 million in contributions it funneled into state referendum battles in California, state officials there announced Thursday.

So the story apparently is all about the Kochs. Does this mean that the Koch brothers, or Koch Industries, contributed some of the $15 million that was involved in the incident that gave rise to the fine? Um, no. The Times makes no such claim, and in fact, they didn’t. But you have to read the article carefully to realize that it actually says nothing about Koch.

    The group, the Arizona-based Center to Protect Patient Rights, is one of the largest political nonprofits in the country, serving as a conduit for tens of millions of dollars in political spending, much of it raised by the Kochs and their political operation….

Really? How much of the organization’s funding was “raised by the Kochs?” The Times doesn’t tell us, and their reporter has absolutely no idea. As far as I know, the Kochs didn’t raise anything for CPPR.

    The center is not formally controlled by the Kochs….

“Not formally controlled?” That’s a laugh. So far, we have seen no evidence that the Kochs have anything to do with the center. And, in fact, they contributed nothing to whatever the center did on the ballot initiatives in question:

    …and Robert A. Tappan, a Koch spokesman, said neither brother ultimately contributed to the California effort.

The Times doesn’t contradict this statement; on the contrary, it confirms it: the paper obtained an email from a fundraiser for CPPR to Charles Koch, asking for money. But the solicitation was unsuccessful. The Kochs gave CPPR nothing for the California ballot propositions, in part because they opposed Proposition 32, which they regarded as an infringement on unions’ free speech rights.

So the Times tries to make the story all about the Kochs, even though Koch had nothing–zilch, zero–to do with the funds that were at issue in the campaign finance complaint, and didn’t even participate in the California ballot initiatives in question.

Of course, the Times had help in their misdirection effort. California’s Democrat-controlled Fair Political Practices Commission also tried to make the story about the Koch brothers. Ann Ravel, the Commission’s chairman, gave a press conference in which, while announcing the CPPR fine, she tried to spin a tale about the Kochs:

    Tony Russo and AJS decided instead to send the money to the Koch network with no strings attached, hoping that because that network has tentacles all over the country, some of the money would eventually find its way back to California campaigns, where the money was originally intended to go. And so it did. But because their was never any explicit earmarking of the funds for California campaigns—either by the original donors, or by the organization that transferred the money to the Kochs—the law as it stands does not require disclosure of the donors.

The “Koch network?” What does that mean? Apparently every conservative group is part of the “network.” But when asked specifically about where the money in question came from, Ravel admitted that she had no idea:

    REPORTER: You’ve identified these groups as part of the Koch brothers network [INAUDIBLE] $11 million dollars.

    RAVEL: I don’t believe we know what money was included in the $11 million, and I believe that was part of the purpose of the exchange.

So her many references to the Koch brothers, the “Koch network,” and so on, were entirely gratuitous. She just made it up. No surprise there: Ann Ravel is a Democratic Party hack. Which presumably is why President Obama has nominated her to the Federal Elections Commission. That’s right: she is leaving the California Commission, and now will be able to persecute conservatives with groundless allegations on the national level. In the Obama administration, she will fit right in. Maybe her next job can be reviewing your tax returns, or listening in on your phone calls.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline Once-Ler

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2 excellent articles Rapunzel.  Thanx for posting them.
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