"Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air". -- John Quincy Adams
The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that started its efforts in March, 2002 when it became increasingly clear that politics in California is dominated by Big Money special interests, not voters. It gets worse every year.
Our long-term mission is to educate Californians about the need to clean up its broken campaign finance system by bringing full Clean Money, Fair Elections public financing of campaigns to California so that everybody has a voice and so that politicians are accountable to voters, not special interests.
Clean Money would have to be passed by the voters in an initiative either put on the ballot by the legislature or by the people through signature gathering.
Major Clean Money Victories
Despite the opposition of lobbyists and other Big Money special interests, the California Clean Money Campaign, its members, and coalition partners have won major victories towards the goal of Fair Elections:
Historic Fair Elections Victory in the Legislature in 2008
AB 583 passed after a strong coalition campaign including the efforts of California Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of California, the California Nurses Association, and many others. The legislature passed it after over 30,000 people signed the petition and after thousands of calls, letters, and faxes generated by the efforts of CCMC activists and members.
Bob Stern, President of the Center for Governmental Studies, termed it "the biggest political upset of the year in California".
Prop 15 Loses in 2010 But Builds Support and Sets the Stage
Prop 15's loss showed that we need to address deceptive political advertising: Over 20 million deceptive paid slate mailers were sent out with "No on 15" messages, fooling people into believing that they represented real endorsements when they're actually sold to the highest bidder.
Despite that, a majority of voters voted for Prop 15 in eight Bay Area counties and in the city of Los Angeles — areas CCMC had particularly strong grassroots working groups to get the message out about the need for Fair Elections. AB 583 and Prop 15 showed the power of grassroots Clean Money activists and members — that's why we said we'd be back!
Voters Resoundingly Say Yes to Clean Money in Los Angeles in March 2011!
Measure H, authored by LA City Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilmember José Huizar, banned bidders on large city contracts from making campaign contributions or fundraising for city officials who decide who wins. But the most important part of Measure H lifted the maximum balance in the City's public financing campaign trust fund. This will eventually allow L.A. to move to full, Clean Money, Fair Elections public funding of campaigns, so that candidates don't take big money from any special interest donors and are accountable only to the voters.
Los Angeles residents sent a message to leaders across the state and across the country: It's time to end corporate and big money special interest control of our political system. And Clean Money members and volunteers helped send that message!
Up Now: The California DISCLOSE ACT!
The California Clean Money Campaign and its teams of volunteers throughout the state are now working on a potential game-changer for political campaigns — the California DISCLOSE Act.
The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision unleashed unlimited, anonymous corporate spending on campaigns. In California, nearly $200 million was spent on November 2010 ballot measures alone, most by corporations hiding behind misleading committees like "Stop Hidden Taxes". This hidden spending is subverting our democracy.
Details of the California DISCLOSE Act are being drafted, but will be based on the federal DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175) that passed the House of Representatives in 2010 and will include other reforms specific to California. It would apply to ballot measures, independent expenditures, and issue advocacy. As proposed, it will:
* Require top funder of political TV and radio ads to "stand by their ad". E.g. Yes on 26 ads would have had to say "I'm John Watson, CEO of Chevron, located in San Ramon, California. Chevron helped pay for this message and approves of it."
* Disclose other major funders in clear and obvious fashion
* New disclosure requirements for deceptive slate mailers
Join us to help it pass!
Here are some ways you can get involved:
Read more about these different parts of our strategic campaign and keep up with the latest campaign news on the pages in this section. And become part of the solution yourself by joining our efforts!
Make your voice heard: become a member! Fill out the form below.