Political non-profit groups, Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR) and Americans for Responsible Leadership, failed to disclose over $15 million in contributions made to California state referendums in 2011, Propublica reported. The Arizona-based groups have ties with the Koch brothers.

Yesterday, the two groups were ordered to pay a $1 million settlement, the largest placed against a political group, and the groups who received the $15 million must turn it over. The verdict was announced by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris of California and the Fair Political Practices Commission.  

Of the total amount of hidden money, the CPPR moved $11 million through Americans for Responsible Leadership to a political committee to “fight a tax-hike measure and to support a proposition restricting unions’ political power.” The last $4 million was given to the American Future Fund, which also went to a political committee.

“This is a nationwide issue,” said Ann Ravel. “These groups exploit loopholes in the law to undermine the clear purpose of the law, to give essential information to the public.”

According to OpenSecrets, only one of the CPPR recipient groups are not filed under the 501(c)(4) tax code. The problem with the 501(c)(4) tax code is that the codes are vague with loose diction. Even though groups under that tax code interpret it as meaning no more than 49 percent of its budget can be spent on politics, they still do it anyway.

As far as the groups’ connection to the Kochs is concerned, that still remains a little murky. The Koch have a reputation for remaining in the shadows and keeping as much distance from their money’s destination as possible. The CPPR and Americans for Responsible Leadership are part of the dark money network known as the “Kochtopus.”

The connection between these groups and the Kochs is by way of Sean Noble. Noble runs two political consulting firms and works for the CPPR. He has gone to Koch brother sponsored secret retreats and has been noted as a “behind the scenes” hand in the Koch’s involvement with the 2012 elections.

Former Koch Industries official Wayne Gable has been connected with the groups, as well. Gable actually gave over $100 million to the CPPR from 2011 to 2012. How the CPPR used that money is still up in the air.

Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.