The California DISCLOSE Act Moves to the Governor's Desk
AB 249 Would Bring Increased Transparency to Campaign Funding
Sacramento – The California DISCLOSE Act (AB249) has passed the Assembly with bi-partisan support and now moves on to Governor Brown. This landmark bill will fundamentally change how campaign financing is disclosed in the State of California.
“After seven years and dozens of authors and co-authors, the DISCLOSE Act has finally passed the legislature and is moving onto Governor Brown,” said the bill’s author, Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin. “Transparency in elections is critical to our democracy and AB 249 brings that transparency to California, giving our voters the opportunity to make informed decisions based on honest information.”
In recent years, California has seen unprecedented campaign spending on ballot measures, with over $1 billion spent on measures between 2012 and 2016. Campaigns were able to hide behind layers of misleading organization names, enabling campaigns to conceal their top funders. The fine print that flashed on TV ads made it virtually impossible for voters to identify the true funders of campaign advertisements. AB 249 will make it easier for voters to identify who is truly funding ads by requiring the three top funders to be clearly displayed.
The DISCLOSE Act has seen significant grassroots support from the California Clean Money Campaign the bill’s sponsor, whose President Trent Lange was extremely excited that the bill is finally moving to the Governor’s desk. “With this landmark, first in the nation bill, we've never been closer, anywhere in the country, to shining a light on Dark Money by making it illegal for voters to be misled about who is truly paying for ballot measure ads," said Mr. Lange. "Every Californian who cares about the integrity and honesty of our electoral process owes AB 249 authors Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin and Assemblymember Marc Levine a huge 'thank you', along with Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and Senators Ben Allen, Henry Stern and Jerry Hill. Without their leadership, this victory wouldn't have been possible."
Nicolas Heidorn, Policy and Legislation Counsel of Common Cause had this to say about AB 249, “AB 249 is the most important campaign finance bill this year and we urge Governor Brown to sign it. Democracy thrives in sunshine, not darkness.”
AB 249 is also strongly endorsed by the author of the Political Reform Act of 1974, Bob Stern who said, "I strongly endorse AB 249. It represents a major advancement in disclosure on ads for both ballot measures and independent expenditures for and against candidates, making them much more readable and accurate, increasing the funders that must be disclosed from two to three on TV and print ads, and requiring top funder disclosures on general purpose committee ads for the first time."
“Some said this type of reform could never come out of the legislature, but it is a measure whose time has come,” Mullin stated. “This bill would give California the strongest campaign finance disclosure law in America.”
Kevin Mullin represents the 22nd Assembly District and is the Speaker pro Tempore of the California State Assembly. He chairs the Select Committee on Biotechnology and serves on the following committees: Budget, Budget Subcommittee #3 on Resources and Transportation, Business and Professions, Elections and Redistricting, and Revenue and Taxation. The 22nd district includes the cities of Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Foster City, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Pacifica, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, portions of South San Francisco and the San Mateo County Coastside communities of Montara and Moss Beach.
Contact: Susan Kennedy
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