Legislature Approves Bill To Begin Replacing Campaign Finance, Lobbying Database

Media Contact:

September 11, 2013

Phillip Ung (916) 520-4070

Legislature Approves Bill to Begin Replacing Campaign Finance, Lobbying Database

Senate Bill 3 will improve lobbying and campaign finance database

Sacramento, CA – California’s antiquated campaign finance and lobbying database is a step closer to being replaced under Senate Bill 3, approved by the State Assembly with bipartisan, supermajority support (55 ayes – 18 noes).

In 2011, the Secretary of State’s Cal-Access system – containing all state campaign finance and lobbying information – crashed for six weeks. Since the system’s failure, campaign finance reform advocates and public officials have taken steps to replace the 14-year old system. Senate Bill 3 is an essential step towards modernizing the public’s access to essential information.

“Cal-Access is a system that was modern and cutting edge in 2000,” said Philip Ung, Policy Advocate for California Common Cause. “However, that was a few years before MySpace was considered modern and cutting edge. In our digital era, the government should embrace 21st century transparency.”

SB 3 calls for the Secretary of State and the Fair Political Practices Commission to look into the technological requirement and cost for a modern online database for campaign finance & lobbying disclosures.

“The Cal-Access system is the only tool available to the public that shows who has influence in Sacramento and puts it at our fingertips,” said Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo). “Californians deserve a modern and efficient means of accessing this information rather than a relic from the early days of the internet.”

SB 3 will also require campaign treasurers to take online training in campaign finance law to make sure elections are conducted fairly and legally. “An accessible system is an honest system” said Yee. “SB 3 will give us a political system that is more transparent.” SB 3 will return to the Senate for concurrence, and will then go to the Governor.

Please contact Phillip Ung if you have questions, in need of more information, or wish to schedule an interview.

California Common Cause is a non-partisan, non-profit that strives to strengthen our democracy by empowering our members, supporters and the general public to take action on critical policy issues.