Will we ever know who funded the anti-Kings arena petition drive?

USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the state Fair Political Practices Commission sued Loeb & Loeb to find the source of the $80,000 used to fund the petition drive intended to put the Kings arena on the ballot. But the suit may not turn up anything in the end.

On Thursday, the Fair Political Practices Commission sued Loeb & Loeb to find out the source of $80,000 the law firm paid to the campaign to derail the Sacramento Kings arena. Loeb & Loeb is based in Orange County and happened to have represented the Maloof family in its bids to relocate the Kings to Anaheim and sell the team to Chris Hansen. No one has directly alleged that the Maloofs, who seem to have no skin in the game, are the source of the $80,000. But given the Maloofs' past indiscretions as it relates to Sacramento, no one would rule it out.

That the FPPC has taken a keen interest in the secretive source of the $80,000 is not surprising: this is something the FPPC does regularly. It played a major role in attempting to uncover the source of major money spent to derail one of Governor Brown's funding initiatives in the 2012 election. That money ended up coming from out of state and, as far as I know, it's still a mystery who provided it at the beginning. And the FPPC is good at what they do -- the shell games groups play with political money is just crazy.

That indicates that in this case, the source may again go undetermined. It's unclear what records the FPPC can induce Loeb & Loeb to cough up. And it may turn out that the source to Loeb & Loeb was a shell company whose source of funding is hard or impossible to track. So there may never be payoff, may never be answers here.

But the damage has been done. The consultants working on the petition drive have bailed out due to the secrecy and failure to meet deadlines by Loeb & Loeb. The volunteers are still plugging away, and say they are halfway to 22,000. They might need 40,000 given the standard overshoot in addition to the DowntownArena.org petition withdrawal effort. And they took a huge blow -- whether the grassroots anti-arena people deserve the taint or not -- with this scandal. We may never find out how is trying to sandbag Sacramento, but it may not matter.

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