Money from the outside, money from the inside -- cash is converging on California's 2012 election in huge amounts and the trail isn't always clear.
"The influence of independent spending is especially strong in California, experts say. The nation's biggest congressional delegation has 10 competitive races this year that will figure strongly in the parties' battle for control of the House, in part because of new political maps that resulted in fewer sure bets for either party."
"We've got an arms race going on, and clearly there is a lot at stake," said Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause. She added that her organization is especially concerned about aspects of the rules that in some cases allow the identity of contributors to remain hidden."
"The state Fair Political Practices Commission sued little-known nonprofit Americans for Responsible Leadership to obtain information related to the eight-figure check and determine whether the group violated campaign disclosure laws. The group donated $11 million to a business committee that is fighting Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30, and supporting a measure to restrict union dues collection, Proposition 32."
"After a brief hearing in a packed courtroom today, Judge Barry Loncke asked both sides to submit court filings by Monday ahead of a hearing Tuesday morning, saying the court needed more time to consider whether Americans for Responsible Leadership must provide records."
That money into California's congressional races is only the tip of the iceberg -- a huge flow of cash is going into state and federal campaigns across the county.
From Will Evans in California Watch: "While Gov. Jerry Brown cries foul over $11 million in unidentified money that recently infused the state ballot measure fight, federal races in California and around the country are awash in secret money, too."
"Advocacy groups that don't disclose donors have dumped more than $200 million into the presidential and congressional races this season, according to the Sunlight Foundation, and that's only the fraction of their activities that they had to report publicly."
"When an obscure Arizona group called Americans for Responsible Leadership gave $11 million to defeat the governor's tax measure and support an initiative that would weaken the political clout of unions, Brown called it illegal. The state Fair Political Practices Commissionfiled a lawsuit Thursday under new state rules to force the group to provide records on the mystery donation."
Speaking of money, there's a lot at stake in online power, but the group that pushed the issue is closing up shop -- at least for now.
From Kimberly Pierceall in the Press-Entperprise: "Online gambling is no closer to being legal in California than it was two years ago, so the group created to change that is folding."
"The California Online Poker Association, a limited liability company that consisted of 29 tribes and 31 card rooms, announced Thursday, Oct. 25, that it would dissolve."
"A division among casino-owning tribes stalled legislation that would have legalized online gambling, leaving it to die without a vote of lawmakers. In the Inland area, the Pechanga and Agua Caliente tribes opposed the legislation, and the San Manuel and Morongo tribes were part of the group lobbying to pass it. New legislation would have to be introduced in 2013 if supporters decide to try again."
The California Public Utiltities Commission has launched an investigation into the problems at the San Onofre nuclear power plant, which has been shut down for months because of defective steam parts.
From the LAT's Abby Sewell: "The five commissioners voted unanimously to launch the investigation at a meeting Thursday in Irvine, the first such probe in California in a decade."
"Commission President Michael Peevey promised that the investigation of the darkened plant — on the coastline south of San Clemente — will be "exhaustive." It could also be time-consuming, potentially not finished until the second half of 2014."
"The investigation will look at the costs already incurred in the long-running outage, which resulted from defective replacement steam generators, and at the potential cost to ratepayers from repairs as well as scenarios in which one or both reactors never come back online."