Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sean Noble Interview Leads To $233,000 Fine Against His 2010 Koch Network Allies; Arizona Races Included (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

(4:15pm: An updated article detailing that Noble and CPPR escaped penalties can be found here.)

Arizona-based Sean Noble gave an interview to National Review in 2014, about how he and Randy Kendrick* raised and disbursed more than $50M through the Koch Brothers network. That article led to an FEC complaint alleging criminal conspiracy against Noble, his group and three of the groups to which he funneled money. Noble and his fellow defendants recently agreed to resolve the matter for a $233,000 fine.

The monies collected by Noble's Center To Protect Patient Rights (nka American Encore) were granted to other dark money groups. The 60 Plus Association, American Future Fund and Americans for Job Security received grants from CPPR, ran ads in Congressional races and told the FEC (Federal Election Commission) that noone had contributed specifically for those ads.

Noble's interview detailed how CPPR's ads were put together and given to the other groups - along with the grants earmarked to run the ads. The article led CREW (the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) to file the complaint in November 2015. (Complaint reproduced below.)

The conciliation agreement(s) were apparently reached within the past few weeks. CREW divulged that information, although, pursuant to FEC precedent, the agreement is confidential until after the matter is resolved. It is possible that either CREW violated the confidentiality, or that the case is resolved and has not yet been closed (and released to the public). (4pm: The matter was fully closed on July 8, but the FEC has not yet released the file; they have 30 days to do so.)

A good chunk of the $50M from Noble's 2010 campaign efforts were spent here in Arizona.  As Arizona's Politics reported at the time, 60 Plus was running ads heavily against three vulnerable Democratic incumbents in Arizona. The ads helped defeat Harry Mitchell, and give Ann Kirkpatrick the boot in CD1.  Gabrielle Giffords hung on in CD8.  (That article called into question the source of the 60 Plus funds.)

Noble also spoke in the National Review article about how he was able to expand the map near the end of that campaign, and that was also apparent in Arizona, as CPPR had 60 Plus sponsoring an ad attacking entrenched incumbent Raul Grijalva (CD7).

Arizona's Politics has reached out to Noble for comment, and will updated with his response.

(UPDATE, 3:15pm: CREW has released the conciliation agreements signed by the 3 of the 4 organizational respondents, as well as the breakdown of the fine. AFF agreed to pay $140K, 60 Plus will pay $50K, and AJS fined $43K.)

(UPDATE, 3pm: FEC tells Arizona's Politics that it has up to 30 days after closure to publicly release information, strongly implying that it has not yet been closed for 30 days. There was an Executive Session of the Commissioners yesterday.)
* Randy Kendrick is an attorney married to Arizona Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken.

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