An Arizona-based nonprofit disclosed Monday that it laundered $11 million from pro-Republican groups and sent it to a campaign committee in California that’s fighting a proposed tax increase designed to support public education.
Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership (ARL) didn’t give up their donor list without a fight, however: after an official complaint by advocacy group Common Cause triggered an investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), ARL appealed their case all the way up to the California Supreme Court. They lost that case this weekend, then opted to turn over the requested information rather than fight it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court…
However, instead of revealing the true source of the money, ARL disclosed Monday that it acted as an intermediary for the $11 million, which came by way of two other pro-Republican groups: The Center to Protect Patient Rights and Americans for Job Security.
One of the great scandals in this rancid avalanche is something Americans won’t be told by the broadcasters: the TV networks and local stations are making immense profits from these political ads. Hundreds of millions of dollars will flow into the coffers of media companies this year from these sources. The very notion that TV “news” – a word that almost always belongs in sarcastic quotes – would bite the hand that feeds it is, well, absurd. Television is complicit in this thoroughly corrupt system. We need two kinds of disclosure. One is to unmask the anonymous cowards who pay for the rancid advertising. Since that won’t happen as long as Republicans can block legislation, we can at least force some disclosure on the media companies. Naturally, the media industry has been fighting even tame federal regulations that would require the biggest broadcasters to disclose online what they’re being paid, and by which organizations, for political advertising. The hypocrisy of media conglomerates, which (occasionally) insist on transparency in government but resist it themselves, is unsurprising.A strategy for filtering America’s toxic sludge of political advertising | Dan Gillmor (via globalsociology)