Hurricane causes delay for campaign finance case


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Hurricane Sandy, which is threatening millions on the East Coast with flooding and high winds, has even conspired to disrupt California politics.

A court hearing involving the $11-million donation from an Arizona nonprofit has been delayed from Tuesday to Wednesday because the storm was preventing the group’s Virginia lawyers from flying out on time.


The Arizona nonprofit, Americans for Responsible Leadership, gave the money to the Small Business Action Committee, which is fighting Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-hike campaign and pushing a ballot measure that would curb unions’ political influence.

The donation sparked a lawsuit from the Fair Political Practices Commission, which is investigating whether the nonprofit is improperly hiding its donors’ identities.

Americans for Responsible Leadership filed its second rebuttal on Monday, saying the nonprofit has a 1st Amendment right to keep its donors confidential. The Fair Political Practices Commission will submit its own brief Tuesday.

The dispute will probably spill over into the Legislature later this year. Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) plans to introduce legislation in December to tighten the rules for disclosing political donors using nonprofits to influence California elections.

“Just because you’re funneling it through a nonprofit doesn’t mean you should hide the donor’s name,’ said Adam Keigwin, Lee’s chief of staff.



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-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento