Documents set off speculation about identity of secret donors


Documents released Thursday as part of a state investigation into the transfer of millions of dollars into California campaigns through a network of secretive nonprofit groups have set off a new hobby in state political circles -- trying to figure out the names on a partially redacted list of donors who ponied up the money.

The donors who gave a combined $28.9 million to the Virginia-based Americans for Job Security did so with a promise from California fundraisers that their identities would remain anonymous. But a donor list was included in the investigative file made public Thursday by state investigators, after they had announced a record $1 million in fines against two Arizona nonprofit groups that eventually received the money and funneled $11 million into California campaigns last year.

The list, which the Fair Political Practices Commission says originated with lawyers for GOP fundraiser Tony Russo, has some names crossed out but leaves others intact. Addresses are partially obstructed almost haphazardly. On one donation of $2 million that appears to be from San Francisco investor Charles Schwab, the San Francisco post office box number is left unobstructed, with only the letters “PO” marked off.


A $2 million donation dated Sept. 28, 2012 from a person or group that ends in “gies” and has a New York Ave NW address in Washington, D.C. that begins with “14” seems to suggest that the money came from Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, a nonprofit group that has worked closely with another conservative nonprofit group, American Crossroads, started by GOP operative Karl Rove.

When asked about the donation, Crossroads GPS spokesman Jonathan Collegio refused to confirm or deny the money came from his group. “As it does every year, in a few weeks Crossroads GPS will report on all of its grant-making activity for 2012 as part of its Form 990,” he said in an email to The Times. “Until then, Crossroads doesn’t comment on which groups are -- or are not -- grant recipients, except to say that all grants are unrestricted, undesignated and in furtherance of our social welfare purpose.”

Others who appear on the list are Los Angeles philanthropist and businessman Eli Broad, GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson and members of the Fisher family, which owns the Gap, Inc.