Governor Brown Signs the California DISCLOSE Act
California Common Cause and its 155,000 members applaud Gov. Brown for putting the people first by signing the California DISCLOSE Act (AB 249) today.
“Every voter has a right to know who is trying to influence our votes and our legislature,” said Sylvia Moore of California Common Cause. “While Congress and federal agencies fail to act to require more transparency in the post-Citizens United era, the DISCLOSE Act will continue California’s leadership in building a strong and transparent democracy.”
While Congress, the Federal Election Commission, and other federal regulatory agencies have failed to strengthen disclosure rules, states are leading the way for the reform – California included. California initially increased money in politics transparency rules after Citizens United, revamped and modernized its online disclosure database, and voters approved a measure to increase citizens’ oversight over the legislature in the 2016 election. The passage of the California DISCLOSE Act is the next step to ensure strong transparency laws when it comes to money in California politics.
The California DISCLOSE ACT requires the three largest funders of political ads to be clearly identified at the beginning of ads for ballot campaigns and independent expenditures. This way, voters know exactly who is paying for the ad and who is trying influence them. TV, radio, print, and online ads are also covered in the bill.
Nearly $1 billion was spent in ballot measures in California over the last five years, nearly all of it by donors whose real identities were not disclosed on campaign ads. Whether it be one billionaire, a wealthy special interest group, a big corporation, or a foreign government paying for the ad, Californians will now know who is behind it.
“Americans across the political spectrum favor stronger money in politics disclosure reforms,” said Kathay Feng of California Common Cause. “The California DISCLOSE Act is a common-sense proposal that will increase transparency, which is why it passed out of the legislature with strong bipartisan support.”
Common Cause’s state offices have been instrumental in passing similar disclosure laws in several states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Maryland, Connecticut, Hawaii, Montana, and Delaware.