Fight Big Secret Money in Politics:
Build on Our Historic Victory for the California DISCLOSE Act!



        





Striking Next Blows Against Secret Money!

SB 651, the Petition Disclosure Act

SIGN PETITION!  Make initiative petitions reveal their top 3 funders.

AB 2188, the Social Media DISCLOSE Act

SIGN PETITION!  Make Facebook, Google & Twitter disclose political funders using AB 249's powerful disclosures.  Read Press Release

Historic Clean Money Victory!
AB 249, California DISCLOSE Act, signed into law!

READ PRESS RELEASE  The news of what happened.

SIGN PETITION!  Thank Governor Brown for signing AB 249!

3 Out of 4 Top Clean Money Bills Passed in 2016!

VICTORY!  SB 1107 (Allen), which Clean Money sponsored, opens the door to public financing of campaigns in California!  Victory news.

VICTORY!  SB 1349 (Hertzberg), new state campaign disclosure website for more transparency!  Sign petition to Gov Brown.

VICTORY!  SB 254 (Allen-Leno), put on the California ballot Prop 59, the Overturn Citizens United Act — which won!  Sign petition demanding Congress follow the voters' instructions.

Become a member of the California Clean Money Action Fund to join the fight against Big Secret Money!


Democracy Under Assault by Secret Money Unleashed by Citizens United

What do you care about?  The environment, health care, education, food safety, worker rights, civil rights, or fair taxes and regulations?  All are dominated by billionaires and special interests that spend unlimited amounts of hidden money to buy ballot measures and elections.

In California, nearly $1 billion was spent on ballot measures between 2012 and 2016, most hidden in fine print behind misleading names.  A constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United could take years, but we can stop secret money now.



We Can Reveal Secret Money on Ads with the California DISCLOSE Act

Require ads to show 3 largest funders of the ad in large clear type on a solid black background.  No more fine print.  Applies to all ballot measure ads and to ads about candidates paid for by outside groups.

Identify original funders so ads must display true funders instead of misleading names, even when they try to hide behind multiple layers.


Example of how it would look on bottom 1/3 screen of Yes on Prop 26 advertisement




AB 249, the California DISCLOSE Act

  • A bill in the California legislature authored by Assemblymembers Kevin Mullin and Marc Levine.
  • Sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign.
  • Requires ballot measure ads and independent expenditures for and against candidates to clearly list their top 3 funders.
  • First-in-the-nation follow-the-money rules so money given for ballot measures must be tracked and shown on ads no matter how many front groups they try to hide behind.
Learn more about AB 249

How You Can Help AB 249 Pass





AB 249, the California DISCLOSE Act

  • Lets voters know who really is paying for political ads — on the ads themselves.
  • Ballot measure ads will have to clearly and prominently list their three largest funders.
  • "Follow-the-money" disclosure stops dark money from hiding.
  • Applies to all kinds of political ads, including TV, radio, print, and websites.
  • The California DISCLOSE Act will change the Big Money game.  Learn more about AB 249

 

Assemblymembers Kevin Mullin and Marc Levine, authors of AB 249, the <i>California DISCLOSE Act</i> Assemblymembers Kevin Mullin and Marc Levine, authors of AB 249, the California DISCLOSE Act
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Editorials on the California DISCLOSE Act

EDITORIAL: Voters deserve to know who's bankrolling shadowy political campaigns

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 10/4/17

... most voters don't have the time ... to vet every political ad. ... it makes sense to update the requirements for disclosure as proposed by AB 249, which would require that the top three funders of ads supporting or opposing a ballot measure be identified transparently and prominently in the ad. ... The bill would put California at the forefront of campaign finance disclosure.  Full story

California bill should expose 'dark money' behind campaigns

San Francisco Chronicle, Editorial, 4/28/15

"The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed their right to spend unlimited amounts, as a matter of free speech. But it did not give them a right to hide their true identity."  Full story

Editorial: Legislators take a walk rather than expand campaign disclosure

Sacramento Bee, Editorial, 9/2/14

"In the legislative session just ended, state lawmakers gave speeches and cast votes intended to show they are on the side of good and open government... But they took a collective walk on one of the most far-reaching measures of the year, Senate Bill 52."  Full story

EDITORIAL: Assembly shamefully kills donor disclosure act

Fresno Bee, Editorial, 9/2/14

"The bill, which sought to amend California's Political Reform Act, required a two-thirds vote. The Democratic-controlled Senate had approved an early version of it in May. But in the Assembly, where Democrats hold even greater majority, the bill never even came up for a vote."  Full story

Our View: Like Toto, legislators must help pull back veil of secrecy

Modesto Bee, Editorial, 8/27/14

"Senate Bill 52 already has a name – the Disclose Act – but we prefer to think of it as Toto’s law. It begins to pull aside the curtain, exposing those who would tell us what to do or what to think when it comes to ballot propositions."  Full story

Our View: Like Toto, legislators must help pull back veil of secrecy

Merced Sun-Star, Editorial, 8/27/14

"In the age of Supreme Court decisions that grant corporations the free speech rights of citizens and allows them to spend as much money as they want to influence voters, we think this law is essential. The bill should be a no-brainer, a slam-dunk, a chip shot..."  Full story

Transparency's Unlikely Foe

East Bay Express, Editorial, 8/27/14

"In addition to requiring more transparency in political campaigns, SB 52 also would prohibit shadowy groups from funneling donations through several campaigns so as to keep the original source of the money secret.."  Full story

EDITORIAL: Our Valley Assembly members must back the DISCLOSE Act

Fresno Bee, Editorial, 8/27/14

"If, in the post-Citizens United era, there is no easy way to stem the tide of unlimited money in elections, voters and their elected leaders should insist upon the sunlight that SB 52 delivers..."  Full story

Mercury News editorial: Truth in campaign advertising should be the law

San Jose Mercury News, Editorial, 8/26/14

"Supreme Court rulings leave little room to regulate the influence of big money on political campaigns except in one very important area: disclosure..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Long Beach Press Telegram, Editorial, 8/26/14

"The bill, SB 52, by San Francisco-area Democrats Mark Leno and Jerry Hill, is also known as the DISCLOSE Act. It stands for Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections. At least the clever name reflects its actual intent, unlike the names of many of the nice-sounding political-action groups we hear promoting this or that self-serving ballot measure."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Los Angeles Daily News, Editorial, 8/26/14

"For Californians who know all about the problems caused by big money’s influence on elections, finding the solution remains easier said than done..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Pasadena Star-News, Editorial, 8/26/14

"The funders named would have to be the people, organizations, corporations or labor unions that provided the original funding, rather than “front” groups..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Editorial, 8/26/14

"That last requirement would seek to prevent outrages like what happened before the 2012 California election, when an Arizona nonprofit with anonymous backing dropped $11 million into two proposition campaigns — to try to buy favor at the polls without showing their faces..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

San Bernardino Sun, Editorial, 8/26/14

"Tell your Assembly rep you want to know who’s paying for campaign ads — or know the reason why you can’t..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Editorial, 8/26/14

"But lawmakers like even less any change that makes political professionals’ jobs harder, which these campaign-ad requirements certainly would..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Whittier Daily News, Editorial, 8/26/14

"Before a scheduled Assembly vote Saturday — on the final weekend of the 2014 legislative season — California residents must tell their representatives to support it..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Torrance Daily Breeze, Editorial, 8/26/14

"The bill has the backing of Southern California Democratic Assembly members Raul Bocanegra, Ian Calderon and Mike Gatto. It needs more.."  Full story

Editorial: Truth in campaign advertising should be the law

Vacaville Reporter, Editorial, 8/26/14

"It would require campaign material to include a readable (no fine print) and factual list of its three top funders instead of using generic committee names like "Citizens for Mom and Apple Pie" and a general description of the members.."  Full story

Editorial: Help voters by revealing who's paying for ads

Ventura County Star, Editorial, 8/20/14

"We have long supported reasonable steps to uncover the influence of special-interest money in politics. The Disclose Act does that, and it deserves the Assembly's full support."  Full story

Do-or-die time for campaign funding disclosure bill

San Francisco Chronicle, Editorial, 8/13/14

"It's not just a bill, it's a movement," said Senator Mark Leno. "People are concerned that their democracy - something so precious to them - is being stolen and contorted."  Full story

Disclosure of campaign-ad funders needed

San Francisco Chronicle, Editorial, 6/1/13

"SB 52, which advanced on a 28-11 vote, should help put an end to the nonsense of naming campaign committees in ways designed to intentionally confuse voters... The Assembly should move quickly to advance this important disclosure bill to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature."  Full story

EDITORIAL: End contribution secrets

Fresno Bee, Editorial, 5/25/13

"Since the infamous 2010 Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, our elections have been inundated with gobs of secret donations for spending by outside groups on political ads..."  Full story

Editorial: Bills could shed light on secret ballot money

Sacramento Bee, Editorial, 5/22/13

"This package of bills should get out of each house with a two-thirds vote by the end of this month. If there is no easy way to stem the tide of unlimited money in elections, voters and their elected leaders should insist upon greater transparency."  Full story

Our View: Bills would expose secret contributions

Merced Sun-Star, Editorial, 5/22/13

"Senate Bill 52, the California Disclose Act, would require all television, radio, print and other ads for ballot measures, independent expenditures and issue advocacy to identify the three largest donors of $10,000 or more for state races and $2,000 for local races..."  Full story

Our View: Bills would expose secret contributions

Modesto Bee, Editorial, 5/22/13

"This package of bills should get out of each house with a two-thirds vote by the end of this month. If there is no easy way to stem the tide of unlimited money in elections, voters and their elected leaders should insist upon greater transparency..."  Full story

Mercury News editorial: California DISCLOSE Act a must in the era of Citizens United

San Jose Mercury News, Editorial, 5/16/13

SB 52 authors Sen. Mark Leno and Sen. Jerry Hill are right: Voters can't do much to reduce the money in campaigns, but they have the right to know which individuals, corporations or unions it comes from.  Full story

Contra Costa Times editorial: Disclose source of money for all California political ads

Contra Costa Times, Editorial, 5/13/13

Californians should encourage state legislators to support the DISCLOSE Act, a bill by two San Francisco-area senators that would require the top three funders of political TV and radio commercials and print and online ads to be boldly identified in the ads.  Full story

Oakland Tribune editorial: Disclose source of money for all California political ads

Oakland Tribune, Editorial, 5/13/13

"SB 52 sponsors Sen. Jerry Hill and Sen. Mark Leno are right: Voters can't do much to reduce the money in campaigns, but they have the right to know which individuals, corporations or unions it comes from."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Los Angeles Daily News, Editorial, 5/9/13

"No fine print. None of the misleading names that special-interest groups like to go by. Instead, big, bold words right up front...? Californians should tell their lawmakers they approve this message: SB 52 would bring more vital transparency to state politics."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Long Beach Press Telegram, Editorial, 5/9/13

"California should lead the way on this reform. Many voters here were appalled when an Arizona nonprofit with anonymous backing dropped $11 million into two proposition campaigns. Under the DISCLOSE Act, an ad mostly paid for by money like that would have to say so."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Pasadena Star-News, Editorial, 5/9/13

"SB 52 sponsors Sen. Jerry Hill and Sen. Mark Leno are right: Voters can't do much to reduce the money in campaigns, but they have the right to know which individuals, corporations or unions it comes from..."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

San Bernardino Sun, Editorial, 5/9/13

"I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message." Voters are used to that tagline on political ads... Shouldn't the same principle apply to political ads made by people and groups who aren't officially associated with candidates and ballot measures but wield just as much influence in elections?"  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Editorial, 5/9/13

"Californians should tell their lawmakers they approve this message: SB 52 would bring more vital transparency to state politics."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Whittier Daily News, Editorial, 5/9/13

"Californians should tell their lawmakers they approve this message: SB 52 would bring more vital transparency to state politics."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Torrance Daily Breeze, Editorial, 5/9/13

"Californians should tell their lawmakers they approve this message: SB 52 would bring more vital transparency to state politics."  Full story



Op-Eds and Media Coverage on the California DISCLOSE Act

Who’s behind that political ad? Voters will know more in 2018

Sacramento Bee, by Taryn Luna, 10/7/17

Amid debate among California campaign officials over whether it would hinder their accountability work, Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a measure aimed at providing voters with more information about deep-pocketed groups that pay for political advertisements.  Full story

The people paying for California political ads might be easier to identify under this new state law

Los Angeles Times, by John Myers, 10/7/17

A sweeping effort designed to give Californians more information about the biggest donors to ballot measure campaigns was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday, a major victory for groups that insist the current system fails to help voters make an informed choice.  Full story

California bill takes aim at dark money in politics — will Jerry Brown sign it?

San Jose Mercury News, by Katy Murphy, 10/1/17

AB 249 by Kevin Mullin, D-San Mateo, would force greater disclosure in political advertising of major donors to ballot measures. Voters ought to know who??™s buying laws or paying for them through ballot measures.  Full story

Bringing the dark money of California politics into the light

Orange County Register, by Sharon Quirk-Silva, 9/30/17

The DISCLOSE Act would be the strongest campaign advertisement finance law in the nation. California should set an example for this great nation, and ensure that our politics represent the people, not big-money corporations.  Full story



Press Releases on the California DISCLOSE Act

Petition DISCLOSE Act Introduced by Senator Ben Allen

California Clean Money Campaign, Press Release, 12/6/18

SACRAMENTO, CA -- A new California bill to require initiative signature gatherers to disclose to voters the top 3 funders of their signature-gathering before they sign petitions to put measures on the ballot was launched with the introduction of SB 47, the Petition DISCLOSE Act, authored by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign.  Full story

Coalition Delivers 90,000 Signatures to Governor Brown for Net Neutrality Bill (SB 822)

California Clean Money Action Fund, Press Release, 9/27/18

Sacramento -- Today a coalition of some of the largest public interest and activists groups in the state and nation delivered 90,000 signatures to Governor Brown urging him to sign SB& 822, the bill to restore Net Neutrality to California  Full story

Leading San Francisco Candidates Call for Funding Development of Open-Source Voting System

California Clean Money Action Fund, Press Release, 6/4/18

San Francisco -- The day before an election being conducted using proprietary voting systems using secret software from corporate vendors, San Francisco's three leading mayoral candidates and Supervisor Budget Chair Malia Cohen released calls to fund the San Francisco Elections Commission's request for $4 million in funding for the development of a publicly owned open-source voting system to process voter marked paper ballots.  Full story

Social Media DISCLOSE Act Introduced by Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin

California Clean Money Campaign, Press Release, 3/29/18

SACRAMENTO, CA -- After rising national concerns about the lack of disclosure on political ads on social media and other online platforms, California will again lead the way to greater transparency with the launch of AB 2188, the Social Media DISCLOSE Act, authored by Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin.  Full story


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