Former Chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (CFPPC) Ann Ravel admitted this weekend that the Koch brothers were not involved with campaign finance violations that resulted in a record fine levied by the agency.
Ravel had attempted to link violations by two Arizona-based nonprofit groups to libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch, saying the Kochs funneled "dark money" into two 2012 ballot initiatives.
However, during an interview with KNBC on Saturday Ravel conceded that the Kochs were not involved.
"It was not the Koch brothers, it was Eli Broad, and there were some others," Ravel said when asked if she believed that the Kochs were responsible for making the donations.
The Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR) and Americans for Responsible Leadership (ARL) reached a civil settlement with the California Commission last month for failing to disclose financial contributions during the 2012 campaign cycle, resulting in a record $1 million fine.
The groups did not properly report $15 million given to two California committees. Some of the contributions were spent in support of Proposition 32, which would have prohibited unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes.
Koch Industries denied that they were involved in the campaign, and actually opposed Proposition 32.
"We did not support, either directly or indirectly, this ballot initiative, which would have restricted public and private sector employees’ rights to contribute to candidates," Koch Industries said in a statement.
"In addition, we did not give directly or indirectly to any non-profit group in support of this ballot initiative," they said.
Ravel had said during a press conference on Oct. 24 that the money was sent to the "Koch network," which has "tentacles all over the country," despite having no evidence that any of the funding was from the Kochs.
Numerous news reports followed Ravel’s lead, tying the Kochs to one of the biggest campaign finance violations in California history, because the founder of the Center to Protect Patient Rights had worked as a consultant to Koch Industries in the past. The group has no formal ties to the Koch brothers.
Ravel, a Democrat, is now a commissioner for the Federal Election Commission (FEC).