SACRAMENTO -- State campaign finance officials investigating an $11 million donation made last year by an Arizona nonprofit criticized for not disclosing its donors have reached a settlement with the group, said a state official with knowledge of the deal.
Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the Fair Political Practices Commission, is expected to announce the agreement at a noon news conference Thursday in Sacramento, according to the official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to provide any details of the deal.
The Arizona group is called Americans for Responsible Leadership and claims to promote "general welfare" by educating the public on government accountability.
Calls to the group were not returned late Wednesday.
A year ago, Ravel and Attorney General Kamala Harris opened an inquiry into the group when it refused to say who had bankrolled last October's huge donation to the California-based Small Business Action Committee. The committee used much of the money to oppose Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-hike initiative, and support Proposition 32, aimed at restricting unions' use of dues for political purposes.
In last November's election, Prop. 30 passed and Prop. 32 was defeated.
Though the Arizona group is registered as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit -- a distinction that allows it to keep its donors secret for federal tax purposes -- Ravel and Harris argued that under new California rules, the group had to fess up.
Under court order, Americans for Responsible Leadership revealed that the money it pumped into the state's ballot wars came through two groups, one of which had ties to billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, the oil magnates who fund numerous conservative causes.
But those groups were not required to fully disclose their donors either, and Ravel and Harris vowed not to stop digging until they could trace the source of every dollar given.
Thursday's announcement will likely be a last hurrah in Sacramento for Ravel, a former Santa Clara County counsel who next week starts a new job in Washington, D.C., on the Federal Election Commission.