Sunday the California Supreme Court stepped in by telephone regarding a state investigation of an $11 million donation made to a California political action committee that is backing the No on Proposition 30 and Yes on Proposition 32 campaigns.
Acting on an emergency petition filed late Friday by the Fair Political Practices Commission, Sunday the California Supreme Court unanimously ordered Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership to provide information to the FPPC about the $11 million campaign contribution it made less than three weeks ago to the California-based Small Business Action Committee PAC -- No on 30/Yes on 32, according to Cathal Conneely, supervising communications specialist for the Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts.
The FPPC is trying to determine who is behind the Arizona corporation and whether it complied with the Fair Political Practices Act by disclosing the identities of its donors and other information prior to the Tuesday election.
The high court took the case after the Court of Appeal, Third District, denied on Nov. 2 the FPPC’s emergency petition that followed an Oct. 31 ruling by a Sacramento lower court blocking the FPPC from continuing its investigation pending an appeal from Americans for Responsible Leadership.
The state Supreme Court’s order in the case (Fair Political Practices Commission v. Americans for Responsible Leadership), filed Sunday at 3 p.m. following a telephone conference by the justices, directed Americans for Responsible Leadership to comply with the FPPC’s investigation, Conneely said. Americans for Responsible Leadership subsequently asked for a stay in the case but the high court denied the request.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s Prop. 30 asks California voters if they are willing to incur a quarter-cent, or 3 percent, increase in sales taxes on all transactions and elevated personal state income tax rates for residents earning more than $250,000 a year.
Prop. 30 proponents contend passage of the measure is imperative because money is needed to help close California's $16 billion deficit and maintain the current level of funding for public school education and the University of California system. Without the hikes, proponents say nearly $6 billion in education cuts and other state programs will be necessary.
Bill Cavanaugh, president of the Lake Elsinore Teacher Association, has rallied in support of Prop. 30 and some Lake Elsinore Unified School District officials have expressed budget concerns if the governor’s initiative fails on Election Day.
Supervisors Jeff Stone, Marion Ashley and John Tavaglione voted last month to denounce Prop. 30; supervisors John Benoit and Bob Buster abstained from taking a stand. Buster represents Lake Elsinore and Wildomar and is seeking reelection; Stone represents Murrieta and Temecula.
The California State University Board of Trustees and the University of California Board of Regents have endorsed Prop. 30.
Prop. 30 opponents argue the initiative will drastically increase taxes if passed by voters Tuesday.
Prop. 32 prohibits unions, corporations or government contractors from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. It also prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees, and it prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees.