Dan Morain

Dan Morain

By Dan Morain
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 13A

Upon counsel’s advice, political operative Joel Fox declined to discuss the $11 million that was funneled to his political action committee last fall, other than to say he had done nothing wrong, and that he had received a subpoena from the Fair Political Practices Commission.

The November election is history. Voters rejected Proposition 32, the anti-union initiative that was supposed to benefit from the $11 million. Labor is going about its business of tapping members for future political campaigns.

But ever so slowly, FPPC investigators are pulling on threads, trying to unravel the mystery and lies behind the $11 million in laundered campaign money that flooded into California three weeks before the November election.

Slowly, the story is emerging. It involves some of the most influential and unlikely players in Sacramento. The case is complex, leading from Sacramento to Virginia to Arizona and back to California. It’s a prime example of the need for stricter campaign disclosure laws in California and other states.

Recall the circuitous route the money took: On Oct. 16, Fox disclosed that Americans for Responsible Leadership, an Arizona not-for-profit group that had never played in California politics, gave $11 million to Fox’s Small Business Action Committee to promote Proposition 32, and oppose Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax hike measure, Proposition 30.

On Nov. 5, the day before the election and after the FPPC had sued to force more complete disclosure, Fox filed an amended report with the secretary of state’s office revising the story of how the money got into the Small Business committee treasury.

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