LOS ANGELES, Calif. April 10, 2012 - The Los Angeles City Council today unanimously endorsed the California DISCLOSE Act, AB 1648, adding its voice to the statewide non-partisan effort to help voters make better informed decisions by requiring the top funders of political ads to disclose their identity - on the ads themselves - so voters know who paid for the ad and who's trying to influence their vote.
"Anonymous corporate spending on political campaigns has dragged down our political system, depriving Californians of their right to know basic facts about those looking to shape our state's policies," said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, who led the effort to endorse AB 1648 in the L.A. City Council. "The California Disclose Act is an obvious step in the right direction for the public to take control of elections and really understand who is attempting to influence us in our political decision making."
Authored by Assemblymember Brownley and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign, AB 1648 will require political television, radio, and print ads to clearly identify their three largest funders of $10,000 or more with their names and logos so voters know who is actually paying for them. Committee websites will be required to list their top ten funders. These requirements will apply to both ads for or against ballot measures and independent expenditure ads for or against candidates.
"I am grateful for the leadership of the Los Angeles City Council in supporting AB 1648, which has bipartisan and overwhelming support from the public," said the bill's author, Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Oak Park. "Unfortunately, the same special interests who fund campaign ads and seek to hide behind deceptive committee names to hide their identity are working hard to defeat this measure in the Legislature. The public needs to demand accountability from their elected officials."
Californians from all major political parties have overwhelmingly stated their support in polls for public disclosure of ballot initiative sponsors and their major donors. A Field Poll late last year found that 84 percent of registered California voters favored legislation to increase public disclosure requirements of initiative sponsors, including 78 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of Democrats and 88 percent of Independents.
There are 47 co-authors of AB 1648, including Assembly Speaker John Pérez and Los Angeles-area Assemblymembers Bob Blumenfield, Betsy Butler, Mike Davis, Mike Eng, Mike Feuer, Mike Gatto, Ricardo Lara, Holly Mitchell, and Anthony Portantino. It is also co-authored by Independent Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher of San Diego.
But AB 1648 still faces a difficult fight. As an amendment to the Political Reform Act of 1974, it will require a 2/3 vote of the legislature to pass without having to go on the ballot. Not surprisingly, it is fiercely opposed by organizations representing the largest-spending special interests in the state who would rather be able to continue spending millions on campaigns while keeping their spending hidden from most voters.
"AB 1648 is a far-reaching effort to lift the veil on the hidden Big Money political campaign spenders in California," said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign, the sponsor of the California DISCLOSE Act. "The endorsement by Los Angeles, the largest city in California, greatly adds to the movement of over 200 organizations and leaders and over 20,000 regular citizens who have endorsed AB 1648 in a call for true transparency in political advertising."
AB 1648 is endorsed by the League of Women Voters of California, California Alliance for Retired Americans, California Clean Money Campaign, California Common Cause, California Church IMPACT, the California League of Conservation Voters, the California State Retirees, CALPIRG, Consumer Federation of California, Greenlining Institute, Redwood Empire Business Association, Sierra Club California, and over 200 other organizations and leaders.
The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to lessening the unfair influence of Big Money on election campaigns. For further information, visit www.CAclean.org.
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