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Gov. Brown Says $11M Donation To Anti-Prop. 30 Campaign 'Illegal'

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) - Gov. Jerry Brown called on state regulators Friday to unmask the donors behind an Arizona group that pumped $11 million into the campaign against his tax measure, Proposition 30.

With just three weeks until Election Day, a Phoenix group called Americans for Responsible Leadership, which opposed an Arizona tax measure, gave $11 million to a California committee that's fighting Prop 30 and trying to pass Proposition 32, which would ban unions from making political contributions.

Americans for Responsible Leadership gave the money to the nonprofit group Small Business Action Committee. Under state law, the nonprofit would be required to disclose its donors to the California Fair Political Practices Commission if they gave the money understanding that it would be spent on politics.

KCBS' Doug Sovern Reports:

"I do believe this is an illegal donation," Brown said. "The FPPC should issue subpoenas to get the facts from the California committee that received the money and the Arizona committee that laundered the funds in order to get it over to California in this rather secretive manner."

Neither committee returned calls for comment. But a KCBS investigation reveals the Arizona committee's lawyers are a high-powered Virginia firm led by major Republican attorneys who have worked for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, along with the Republican National Committee. Those attorneys also represent billionaires Charles and David Koch, longtime supporters of conservative causes.

"This is an obvious front group. They don't have $11 million. They got it from somebody else," Brown said.

The governor is in fierce battle to pass the tax measure, which has a narrow, and dwindling, lead in the polls.

"They're putting this money as a money bomb against the schools of California when they try to defeat Proposition 30," Brown said.

Any state investigation may be moot since the money is already being spent to defeat Prop 30.

"It's not legal for these Arizona masked donors to get away with this. It's just not the democratic way. It's not the California way."

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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