California Common Cause, League Of Women Voters Of California, And The Fair Political Practices Commission Will Partner On Disclosure Legislation

Media Contact:

October 31, 2012

CA Common Cause Phillip Ung (916) 520-4070

League of Women Voters of CA Trudy Schafer (916) 442-7215

Fair Political Practices Commission Dominique Word (916) 322-7761

California Common Cause, League of Women Voters of California, and the Fair Political Practices Commission

Will Partner on Disclosure Legislation

Proposal will be introduced in the upcoming legislative session

Sacramento, CA – California Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of California, and the Fair Political Practices Commission will work together to develop and introduce legislation in the upcoming session to improve California’s campaign finance disclosure laws. This partnership is committed to giving Californians as much information as possible about who is funding campaign ads and messages so voters can make informed decisions.

“In the wake of large sums of out-of-state anonymous donations attempting to circumvent California’s disclosure regulations, we are committed to strengthening the state’s laws to shine a light on those who hide in the shadows of politics,” said Derek Cressman, vice president of State Operation for Common Cause. “Voters deserve to know who is behind the negative and misleading advertising that perpetuates today’s elections.”

“We all have a right to know where the money in elections comes from-whether it is from corporations, unions, trade associations, individuals, or nonprofit advocacy groups,” stated Jennifer A. Waggoner, president of the League of Women Voters of California. “How can voters make informed decisions if they don’t know who is spending money to influence the election?”

The Fair Political Practices Commission has been a leading voice for promoting enhanced disclosure. It sponsored legislation last year through Assembly Member Richard Gordon to increase disclosure and accountability for independent expenditure committees. The FPPC is focused on the upcoming legislative session to further enhance the information available to the public, specifically with regard to anonymous contributions.

Policymakers have expressed early support and have stressed the importance for clearer and stronger campaign disclosure laws.

“The rapid growth of independent expenditures makes disclosure all the more necessary,” said Assemblyman Rich Gordon (Menlo Park), the author of AB 481, a measure that will take effect on January 1, 2013 to require more disclosure and accountability over independent expenditure committees. “In order for voters to make fully informed decisions, it is vital they know who, if not the candidate or ballot measure campaign, is paying for political messaging and in what amounts. In the case of the $11 million donated from an anonymous out-of-state political group, it is absurd to think California voters cannot access this information when the ballot measures will directly impact their families and communities. I commend the FPPC, the League of Women Voters, and Common Cause for addressing this issue head-on to ensure the public is aware of any special interest behind campaign advertisements and guarantee faith in our elections.”

“Laundering money through a nonprofit in an attempt to avoid transparency is fundamentally undemocratic,” said Senator Leland Yee (San Francisco). “Whether dollars are earmarked for political purposes or not, when such money is being spent in political campaigns, the donors should be disclosed. Transparency is essential to protect the integrity of our elections and political process.”

Please contact Phillip Ung at (916) 520-4070 or if you have any inquiries or need analysis.