They have names like “Team 2006” and “Working Californians”. In politics they’re known as “independent expenditure committees”. The groups aren’t directly tied to campaigns and have no contribution limits. The Fair Political Practices Commission says those committees have spent more than 88-million dollars since 2000—that’s when voters approved limits on direct campaign contributions. That’s a six-thousand percent increase on such spending for legislative candidates alone. Commission Chairman Ross Johnson:
“These so-called independent expenditures are a way to get around the limits that people have said they want to have…”
Johnson says he wants better disclosure of who’s contributing to the committees. The Commission says top donors include the California Teachers Association and three Indian tribes.