Governor Brown Strengthens Democracy by Signing the California DISCLOSE Act

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  • nicolas heidorn, david vance

California Common Cause and its 155,000 members applaud Gov. Brown for putting the people first by signing the California DISCLOSE Act (AB 249 – Mullin) yesterday.

“Every voter has a right to know who is trying to influence our votes and our Legislature,” said Nicolas Heidorn, Legislative Affairs Director at California Common Cause. “While Congress and federal agencies fail to act to require more transparency in the post-Citizens Untied era, the DISCLOSE Act will continue California’s leadership in building a strong and transparent democracy.”

The California DISCLOSE ACT, authored by Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin, will require the three largest funders of political ads to be clearly identified on all print, electronic, TV, and radio advertisements for ballot campaigns and independent expenditures. The bill also makes significant improvements in how these disclosures are formatted so that voters can more easily understand who is funding the ad they received.

“No more fine print,” said the bill’s author, Speaker pro Tem Mullin. “California voters will now be able to make informed decisions, based on honest information about who the true funders are of campaign ads. This transparency is critical to our democracy and I am proud that California has taken this historic first step to shine the light on ‘dark money.’ Hopefully this will encourage others to follow suit.”

The California Clean Money Campaign (CCMC) sponsored AB 249. “With the quiet gesture of a signature, Governor Brown has loudly proclaimed California to be the national leader on the most important issue of our era: taking our democracy back from the special interests and restoring it to the people,” said Trent Lange, President of the CCMC.

California Common Cause strongly supported the bill. Common Cause’s other 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. 

“Americans across the political spectrum favor stronger money in politics disclosure reforms,” said Executive Director 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. We hope this legislation inspires further reform nationally and in other states.”