Tag Archives: Disclose Act

California Disclose Act, SB 52, Faces Important Assembly Vote Tomorrow

Contact Your Assemblymember to let them know you support clean elections

by Brian Leubitz

Disclosure can’t cure all that ails our political system. The problems run way deeper than that. But, given the tools we have available under the system the Supreme Court has given us, it is the best we can do for now.  SB 52, the California DISCLOSE Act, would make voters aware who is really paying for those ads they are seeing. Specifically, the measure would do the following:

  • Requires the three largest funders of political ads to be clearly identified for five seconds at the beginning of the ads, so voters know who is actually paying for them.
  • Applies to all television ads, radio ads, print ads, mass mailers, online ads, billboards, and websites for or against state and local ballot measures, to third party ads for and against state and local candidates, and to issue advocacy advertisements. It applies whether ads are paid for by corporations, unions, or millionaires.
  • Tells voters where to find the details – Requires ads to list a website that prominently lists the ten largest funders and a link to all funders of $10,000 or more (for state races).
  • Proposed Follow-the-Money Disclosure will require organizations that spend or transfer politically-available funds to report the actual original corporate, union, or individual contributors – not misleading committee and non-profit names.
  • Now, with some labor organizations pulling their support, the future of the bill is in question. Today might be a good day to let your Assemblymember know how you feel about disclosure.

    Thousands Sign Petitions Supporting California Disclose ACT

    California Disclose ACT grows grassroots network

    by Brian Leubitz

    I don’t ordinarily post updates on every petition on legislation. There are just too many of them. However, the online and offline petitions for the California DISCLOSE Act are worthy of a mention.

    On SignOn.org, MoveOn’s online petition site, three petitions already have over 53,000 signatures. Here are the links, where you can add your own name if you are so inclined:

    Russ Feingold’s Progressives United Petition: Over 35K signatures

    Clean Money Campaign’s petition: Over 16K signatures

    Pat Johnstone, of Marin OFA and other grassroots fame: Nearly 1K signatures and nearly 500

    This is in addition to the hard copy petitions that Clean Money Campaign and other volunteers have been gathering. If you were at the CDP convention over the last few years, you would have seen some of those petitions going around. By this point, the signature totals on those are probably enormous.

    The California DISCLOSE Act is a simple proposal to require political funders to announce who they really are in political advertisements. It won’t stop anybody from spending gobs of cash on an initiative, or setting up an Independent Expenditure committee to promote or attack legislative candidates. However, it will force them to take ownership and responsibility for the words that they speak.

    The California Disclose Act Gets a Hearing Tomorrow

    SB 52 would require clear disclosure of political funding

    by Brian Leubitz

    In a state like California, big political campaigns tend to come down to the ads. Yes, field and grassroots outreach makes a huge difference, but a huge onslaught of money can kill a good ballot measure or campaign before you can really do the grassroots part of the campaign.

    And yet, money can fly in from parts unknown and make a huge difference in the course of a campaign. See, for example, the huge sums of money dropped in from Maine, Arizona or some other place that we have yet to determine on Prop 32.

    Unfortunately, we can’t stop the cash avalanche, but the Clean Money campaign and their allies are working to pass the California DISCLOSE Act, SB 52. As you can see from the image to the right, the law would require clear disclosure of the true source of funds for any advertisements.  It will tell voters who is really funding propositions and Super PAC attack ads.

    Here’s a brief explanation from the Clean Money Campaign (CMC):

    SB 52 will stop special interests from hiding behind fake names like “Stop Hidden Taxes” or “Stop Special Interest Money Now”.  Political ads will be required to clearly show their three largest funders.  Committee websites will have to show their top ten major funders.

    SB 52 will require these disclosures be displayed on the bottom one-third of the TV screen for a full six seconds at the start of ads, so people know who the funders from the beginning.  In fact, the funders must be displayed in a big white font on a solid black background.  No more fine print.

    Authored by Senators Mark Leno and Jerry Hill and sponsored by the California Money Campaign, SB 52 will apply to ads for and against ballot measures, and to outside ads for and against candidates – including sham issue ads.  It will tell voters who is really funding propositions and Super PAC attack ads.

    Now, SB 52 already has some pretty strong support in both chambers of the legislature, but because this would amend the Political Reform Act of 1974, a voter passed measure, a 2/3 vote of both chambers is necessary. So, the CMC is looking for a little bit of help.  If you’d like to see what you can do, they have a lot of information available at their website or if you’d like to go to the committee hearing tomorrow, you can RSVP on their website.