New California DISCLOSE ACT, SB 52, Introduced by Senators Leno and Hill

* SB 52 Requires That Political Ads Clearly Disclose Their Top Three Funders

By Press Release

SACRAMENTO - A new effort to give voters the information they need by requiring significantly greater transparency in political ads was launched with the introduction of a new California DISCLOSE Act by Senators Mark Leno and Jerry Hill. Over 350 organizations and leaders endorsed the last version, with over 84,000 Californians signing petitions urging the legislature to pass it.

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SB?52 will require that the top three funders of political ads be clearly and unambiguously identified, on the ads themselves, as well as require committee websites to list their major funders. It applies to advertising for ballot measure campaigns, independent expenditures such as Super PACS, and issue advocacy.

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"We are thrilled that Senators Leno and Hill are taking the lead to push this crucial transparency legislation", said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign, the sponsor of SB?52. "There is a growing movement of Californians demanding the California DISCLOSE Act because people want to know who is really paying for political ads, whether they are hidden out-of-state billionaires behind Super PACs or the largest special interests in California."

SB?52 builds on the progress made by the last version of the California DISCLOSE Act, AB 1648 (Brownley), which passed the Assembly on a vote of 50-26 in late August before running out of time to pass the Senate. AB 1648 had 49 legislative co-authors.

The need for serious reform of disclosure on political ads has increased since then. Over $421 million was spent this year in California on ballot measures alone, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Most of it was spent by committees hiding their funders with misleading names like "Stop Special Interest Money Now" or "The 2012 Auto Insurance Discounts Act."

"We saw evidence in the most recent election cycle of unnamed organizations throwing around large sums of money in order to confuse California voters," said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. "The only way to stop this covert financing of campaigns is to require the simple and clear disclosure of the top three funders of political ads so voters can make well-informed decisions at the ballot box."

Californians from all major political parties have overwhelmingly stated their support for greater disclosure. A Field Poll late last year indicated 84 percent of registered California voters favored legislation to increase public disclosure requirements of initiative sponsors, including 78 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of Democrats and 88 percent of Independents.

"This legislation is vital to protecting the integrity of our democratic process and ensuring fair elections in our state," said Senator Hill, D-San Mateo. "After seeing billions of dollars flow into elections across our country after the Citizens United decision, we need the DISCLOSE Act now more than ever."

DISCLOSE is an acronym for Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections.

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The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization that has been dedicated to educating the public about the need to lessen the unfair influence of Big Money on election campaigns since 2001.? For further information, visit www.CAclean.org.

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(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)




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