Activists reveal more dark-money donors to campaigns against unions and schools-funding tax
The campaign for extending a schools tax on high-income Californians kicked off this week with the release of undisclosed donors involved in fighting against the levy when it last appeared on the ballot.
The new group, California Hedge Clippers, released the names Tuesday as part of a broader campaign to extend Proposition 30 in the November election. The temporary school-funding tax passed in 2012 and is set to expire at the end of 2018.
The group’s game plan could be called preventive disclosure, or strategic shaming.
“Dozens and dozens of California’s wealthiest individuals secretly worked to try to make sure this measure would never pass,” said Amy Schur, state campaign director for the L.A.-based group Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.
“Proposition 30 is too crucial to risk their interference this time around. We’re calling them out,” added Schur, whose group is part of Hedge Clippers, a coalition of unions and self-described progressive groups.
The group’s reportnames 76 individuals as being revealed for the first time, including Silicon Valley tech and investment executive John H. Scully ($500,000), investor and Hyatt Hotel heir Anthony Pritzker ($100,000), developer Geoff Palmer ($100,000) and private equity investor Gerald Parsky ($50,000).
They and others contributed money to an out-of-state organization, which circulated funds through a series of other groups and eventually back to California, regulators concluded. By then, the identity of the donors was beyond the reach of disclosure laws.
Still, as the money was channeled to California, some transfers were not properly disclosed and therefore violated the law, officials said. A California investigation resulted in $16 million in fines as well as the disclosure of some major donors, including L.A. billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad ($1 million).
The new names emerged this week from sleuthing based on a partially redacted list of donors that a political operative had provided to regulators. On it, names and addresses of so-called “dark money” donors are partially blacked out. But enough remained in view to allow researchers to cross reference visible information with more complete public filings elsewhere. And, from there, it was a matter of fill-in-the-blanks.
The work is the latest Hedge Clippers report to target the “one-percent,” wealthy Americans with politics they oppose. The Hedge Clippers also are active in New York City and elsewhere.
Another intriguing name to emerge in the California research was Nils Colin Lind, an executive at Blum Capital, the firm connected to Richard Blum, husband of California Senator Dianne Feinstein. The list also includes leaders of the charter school movement, Activists reveal more dark-money donors to campaigns against unions and schools-funding tax - LA Times