Calif. PAC Refusing to Pay $11 Million Campaign Finance Penalty

CPR file photo/Andrew Nixon
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The California political action committee that received a mysterious and illegal donation last fall says it has no intention to pay the state an $11 million penalty.

California’s campaign finance agency has told the Small Business Action Committee to do something called “disgorgement” – that is, pay the state the $11 million donated last fall by an Arizona non-profit organization. 

“We don’t have the money.  It’s not there.  It’s been spent.  And we disagree with them on the issue entirely.  And so at this point, no, we’ll be fighting them and not paying,” says SBAC spokeswoman Beth Miller. 

Phillip Ung with the public interest group Common Cause says he hopes disgorgement will succeed, but “in previous cases, when people have followed all the rules and made all the notices to the donors, there was no fault to the PAC if somebody was dishonest with the PAC.” 

In this case, the PAC was exonerated by both the Fair Political Practices Commission and the Attorney General’s office.

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