Last week, SB 52, the California DISCLOSE Act, passed through the Senate Elections Committee. This was a first crucial step in fighting back against unlimited secret funding in political campaigns! Authored by Senators Mark Leno and Jerry Hill and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign, SB 52 will require political ads to clearly and prominently show their top three funders so that voters know who is behind them.
Last week was an amazing showing of grassroots and organizational support for SB 52. Nearly 120 people from all around the state came to testify in the Senate Elections Committee in favor of SB 52. That made quite an impression in the Capitol — and after everybody testified, SB 52 passed the committee on a 4-1 vote! Senate Elections Committee Chair Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and Senators Alex Padilla (D-Van Nuys), Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), and Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) all voted Yes. Senator Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) voted no, ignoring the 84% of the voters who want more information about who funds ballot measures. Organizations testifying in support of SB 52 included the League of Women Voters of California, California Common Cause, Consumer Federation of California, JERICHO for Justice, Friends Committee on Legislation in California, the Redwood Empire Business Association, Maplight, Women International League for Peace and Freedom, Money Out/Voters In, the Pacific Media Workers Guild, the Greenlining Institute, MoveOn councils throughout California, California Church IMPACT and many more.
One Hurdle Down, Six to Go The Senate Elections Committee was just the first of a total of seven legislative hurdles that SB 52 must get over before it gets on Governor Brown’s desk in September. The next step will be in the Senate Appropriations Committee and then the full Senate floor later this month. We have a long and tough fight ahead of us… Please donate $5 or whatever you can to support our volunteers and help us win! The California DISCLOSE Act is the best chance to change the Big Money game. SB 52 will require ballot measure ads and ads from groups like Super PACs attacking candidates to clearly and prominently list their three largest funders. Imagine the difference it will make in California elections when corporations and billionaires can’t hide when they pay for deceptive political ads. Grassroots activists like the 120 volunteers from around the state who packed the hearing room and the ones who helped gather 23,000 signatures will be the key to SB 52. Big Money special interests will do everything they can to stop us so they can keep hiding when they try to buy elections. Your donation of $5 or more will help our activists fight back.
Change the Big Money Game for All Types of Political Ads SB 52 will completely change the Big Money game by stopping voters from being deceived about who pays for political ads by groups with misleading names like “Stop Special Interest Money Now”or the “2012 Auto Insurance Discounts Act”. SB 52:
- Requires the three largest funders of political ads to be clearly shown on a solid black background at the beginning of the ads, so voters know who is actually paying for them.
- Applies to all television ads, radio ads, print ads, mass mailers, online ads, billboards, and websites for or against state and local ballot measures, to third party ads for and against state and local candidates, and to issue advocacy advertisements. It applies whether ads are paid for by corporations, unions, or millionaires.
- Tells voters where to find the details – Requires ads to list a website that prominently lists the ten largest funders and a link to all funders of $10,000 or more (for state races).
This comprehensive approach to making sure that voters always have the information they need about who is behind political ads is why over 300 organizations and leaders already endorse SB 52. The support that the California Clean Money Campaign, our coalition partners, and our grassroots supporters is building for the California DISCLOSE Act is tremendously exciting. But we need to provide our volunteers the support they need to educate the public and elected officials about why we need to pass real disclosure in political advertising. So please give $5 or whatever you can. Together, we will pass SB 52 – a crucial element of democracy that is truly of, by, and for the people. Trent Lange President California Clean Money Campaign P.S. Stay tuned for ways you can volunteer to help pass the California DISCLOSE Act. If you can make a donation of even $5 now, then please help support our volunteers.
Endorsers of SB 52
AUTHORS Senator Mark Leno, Chair of Senate Budget Committee Senator Jerry Hill, Chair of Senate Committee on Environmental Quality
SPONSOR California Clean Money Campaign
CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERTS Bob Stern, Principal co-author of Political Reform Act of 1974 Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law Campaign Legal Center
NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS Courage Campaign Democracy for America Progressives United Public Citizen
REFORM ORGANIZATIONS League of Women Voters of California California Common Cause CALPIRG Maplight 99 Rise
ENVIRONMENTAL California League of Conservation Voters Endangered Habitats League Planning and Conservation League Sierra Club California
SENIORS California Alliance for Retired Americans
CIVIL RIGHTS California League of United Latin American Citizens Foundation (LULAC) Greenlining Institute Southwest Voter Registration Education Project
WOMEN California National Organization for Women National Council of Jewish Women, California
CONSUMERS Consumer Federation of California
LABOR AND LABOR LEADERS Communication Workers of America (CWA) 9510 Pacific Media Workers Guild (Newspaper Guild/CWA Local 39521) Cesar Lara, Director, Monterey Bay Central Labor Council Glen Schaller, Political Coordinator, Monterey Bay Central Labor Council
BUSINESS AND BUSINESS LEADERS Green Chamber of Commerce Redwood Empire Business Association U.S. Green Building Council of California
FAITH California Church IMPACT Friends Committee on Legislation in California JERICHO: A Voice for Justice Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
See the full list of over 300 endorsers
- Confusing Political Ads – time for “California DISCLOSE Act” SB 52 (rsocialconscience.wordpress.com)
- The DISCLOSE Act Would Turn Transparency into a Political Weapon (nationalreview.com)