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Who Paid for That? Bill Would Require More Information About Political Ads

The California DISCLOSE act would require disclosure of who is funding political ads.

Updated at 4:40 p.m.

A bill that would require greater transparency in disclosing who paid for political advertisements was unveiled on Monday.

AB 1648, the California DISCLOSE Act, was introduced Feb 13 by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica. Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, was one of 20 co-authors, according to Brownley spokeswoman Linda Rapattoni.

If approved, it would require all political ads—such as radio ads, television ads and mass mailers—that support or oppose a ballot measure or candidate in an election to disclose their top three funders of $10,000 or more and their logo, if they have one, according to Brownley.

“This is a bill that will improve transparency, disclosure of spending in elections by revealing major funding sources directly on all campaign advertisements,” Brownley said.

The bill also would require campaign committees to maintain a website where the top 10 financial backers are listed so voters can easily access the information, Fletcher said.

“People have a right to know who is funding political campaigns and where true support or opposition is really coming from,” said Fletcher, who is running for mayor of San Diego.

Brownley said AB 1648 is similar to a measure that came up two votes short last month of the required two-thirds vote required in the Assembly for passage.

“Support for this issue is growing so significantly throughout the state and I believe we can overcome the two-thirds vote requirement to get this to the governor for his signature,” Brownley said.

An earlier version of this story stated that Fletcher introduced the bill with Brownley. In fact, Fletcher was one of 20 co-authors. Patch regrets the error.

-City News Service

David B Secor February 21, 2012 at 05:28 PM
This is a good start. We will never have totally corruption-free government, but the people at least need to know who is bribing (legally) their representatives. Large contributors have instant and personal access to our representatives, while average citizens are left to send emails to his/her office and see him/her in person only when the representative is a grand marshal in some parade, or appears at a local event to gain publicity. It's really quite simple, until we get the money out of politics, it makes absolutely no difference which party, if any, one is affiliated with. As long as our politicians' votes are "for sale," the needs and desires of the people will always - always - take a back seat. We could be making great strides in many areas were it not for the simple truth that our "representatives" actually represent only their big donors and a few special-interests (just check their contributors, and the legislation they've sponsored- www.opensecrets.org ). When large contributions are double or triple your salary, or more, they old saying applies, "You work for who pays you the most." This applies to BOTH PARTIES. Transparency helps. I would prefer limits, and outlawing politicians from ever becoming a lobbyist or paid advocate or employee ("vice-president, board member, etc.) of any large donor after that representative leaves office - not for two years, or five years - never.
James Davis February 21, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Dennis, Its a super majority rule and has been in the CA Constitution for over 75 years with only Arkansas and Rhode Island still using theirs. It doesnt make things easy for budgets to pass in CA, thats for sure.
Tony Padilla February 21, 2012 at 07:14 PM
It would be great if this bill passes and it is signed into law. It is a good start. At least it would give the constituency a chance to check who is funding the elected officials and learn whether big business millionaires are benefiting giving the chance for the cintizenry to make a judgement on who to vote for. Tony Padilla
Clariece Tally February 21, 2012 at 07:56 PM
This is a great start. But what about bringing a new legal challenge of the Supreme Court's 1976 ruling which allows candidates to pour unlimited funds into their own campaigns. In 1976 no on really believed a candidate's capacity to pour thousands - even millions of dollars - into their campaigns. However, as we know, no election has been spared from candidates pouring large sums into self-financing.
Doug Curlee February 22, 2012 at 03:38 AM
i don't think it;ll take 2/3rds to pass this.. under trhe new law voters enacted in 2010, the super majority is only required for taxes and couple other things.. i don't think this is one of those other things.. doug

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