Landmark disclosure bill, California DISCLOSE Act, AB 700, Passes Assembly
Bill providing dramatically increased transparency and disclosure for political ads passes Assembly on overwhelming 60-15 bipartisan vote
SACRAMENTO, CA -- With a bipartisan vote in the State
Assembly today, California moved one step closer to
enacting the nation's most comprehensive election
disclosure law. Assembly Bill 700, authored by
Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by
the California Clean Money Campaign, requires all
non-candidate campaign committees to clearly and
prominently disclose the identity of their top three true
funders on their campaign advertisements.
"Voters deserve transparency in our electoral
process," said Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez.
"Today's vote moves us forward in the fight to undo the
influence of unlimited money in our elections created by
the Citizens United decision. I urge my colleagues in the
Senate to stand with me and the California Clean Money
Campaign and deliver this bill to Governor Brown."
The Assembly vote was 60-15, with every Democrat voting
Yes, joined by Republican Assemblymembers Katcho Achadjian
(San Luis Obispo), Catharine Baker (San Ramon), Ling-Ling
Chang (Chino Hills), David Hadley (Torrance), Tom Lackey
(Palmdale), Eric Linder (Corona), Kristin Olsen (Modesto),
Marc Steinorth (Rancho Cucamonga), and Scott Wilk
(Valencia). Assemblymembers Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles),
Marc Levine (D-Marin County), Sebastian Ridley-Thomas
(D-Los Angeles), and David Chiu (D-San Francisco) joined
Assemblymember Gomez in speaking for the bill.
The groundswell of support for AB 700 is demonstrated by
more 54,000 Californians who signed petitions for AB 700 --
including petitions hosted and shared on CREDO Mobilize,
MoveOn.org Petitions, Causes.com, and the websites of the
California Clean Money Campaign and People Demanding
Action. More than 13,000 people emailed their
Assemblymember and hundreds called their offices during the
four days prior to the vote.
"The explosion of unaccountable big-money campaigns is
the root cause of voter disgust and disenfranchisement with
the elections process. Outside groups spent more than $640
million on state ballot measures in 2012 and 2014,"
said Assemblymember Marc Levine, joint author of AB 700.
"A core principle in our elections process is that the
democracy works best when the public is fully informed.
When millions are being spent on either side of a ballot
measure, the public has a right to know who is trying to
influence their vote."
Under AB 700, all ballot measure committees and PACs
supporting or opposing candidates will be required to
display the names of their top 3 true funders on a solid
black background on the bottom third of the screen for a
full 5 seconds in television and video ads. Each name must
be displayed on a separate line in a large clear font
without using difficult to read full capitalization.
Similar disclosure rules will exist for radio, print and
online ads, and robocalls.
The California DISCLOSE Act also creates new rules for
earmarking and tracking of contributions to committees to
identify true funders when they try to hide behind shell
groups with misleading names.
"With this landmark, first in the nation bill, we've
never been closer, anywhere in the country, to shining a
light on Dark Money in all its forms by making it illegal
for voters to be misled about who is truly paying for
political ads," said Trent Lange, President of the
California Clean Money Campaign. "Every Californian who
cares about the integrity and honesty of our electoral
process owes Assemblymember Gomez a huge 'thank you' for
his tenacious championing of this cause and this
AB 700 is now headed to the State Senate for their
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.