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Will Speaker John Perez Keep His Promise to Activists About Passing the California DISCLOSE Act?

Last month there was great news for AB 1648, the California DISCLOSE Act.  Speaker John Perez, who is a co-author of AB 1648, stood up in front of a couple of hundred activists at a Los Angeles County Democratic Party meeting and said, to a roaring round of cheers, that “we are going to get the DISCLOSE Act passed!”

This was fabulous news, because the California DISCLOSE Act is crucial to fighting back against Citizens United and unlimited anonymous spending in SuperPACS by making political ads in California clearly show their three largest funders.  Without it voters will be crushed by the Chevron’s and Koch Brothers of the world.

Speaker Perez really has to make it happen because unfortunately, with huge opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce and its big-money corporate allies who would rather keep voters in the dark, it doesn’t look like there’s any Republican Assemblymembers that will vote for it, denying it the 2/3 vote it needs as it currently stands.

Fortunately, Speaker Perez could amend the bill to be a majority vote bill to put it on the 2014 ballot, but he has to act quickly, because the legislative session is over August 31st and it still has to get through the Senate.

The good news is that the California Democratic Party will be fully behind him, since it just endorsed it.   As California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said:

“The California Democratic Party strongly endorses AB 1648, the California DISCLOSE Act.  We agree with the overwhelming percentage of California voters who favor more disclosure of who is paying for political ads.  Our democracy is at risk when special interests can dominate politics while hiding their influence.”

Not to mention that AB 1648 has 44 Assembly co-authors, that over 65,000 people have signed petitions for it, and it has been endorsed by over 300 organizations and leaders, from the League of Women Voters to Courage Campaign to Sierra Club California.  Everybody knows how important it is to stop corporations and billionaires from buying elections by hiding when they pay for political ads!

Unfortunately, time is running out.  The good news is that at the CDP e-board two weekends ago, Speaker Perez told a number of Democratic activists again that he would get it passed.  One of them reported that “he said that he always gets a bill through after he promises he would do it, and that he has a good track record on doing it.”  He said DISCLOSE Act supporters “needed to concentrate on the Senate as we didn’t have to worry about the Assembly”.

It’s getting a little late, but with promises like that from Speaker Perez, I’m sure he’ll be a hero to Californians everywhere by getting it through — in which case, everybody be ready to help get it through the Senate!

In the meantime, sign the petition yourself at:  http://www.CAclean.org/petition

Carole Lutness

Member of the Legislative Committee of the California and Los Angeles Democratic Parties