About AB 700, the California DISCLOSE Act

About AB 700, the California DISCLOSE Act

Fight Dark Money by stopping political ads from deceiving voters about who pays for them!

AB 700, the California DISCLOSE Act, would let voters know who REALLY is paying for ballot measure ads — on the ads themselves.  Authored by Assemblymembers Jimmy Gomez (D-Northeast Los Angeles) and Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign, AB 700 would amend the Political Reform Act of 1974.  It requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature to pass.

AB 700 passed the Assembly on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 60-15 after more than 14,000 people emailed or called their Assemblymembers in only four days before the final vote.  More than 54,000 signed petitions for AB 700 so far.  Now it moves to the Senate.

No matter what issue you care about — the environment, health care, education, food safety, worker rights, civil rights, or fair taxes — All are dominated by billionaires and special interests that spend unlimited amounts of hidden money to buy elections.

AB 700, the California DISCLOSE Act will free California politics from secret money and set an example for the nation.

Clear and Prominatent Disclosures on Political Ads

  • Requires ads to show 3 largest funders of $50,000 or more in large clear type on a solid background.  No more fine print. Applies to all ballot measure ads and to ads about candidates paid for by outside groups.
  • On television and video ads disclosures must be shown on a solid black background on the bottom 1/3 of the screen for a full 5 seconds.  Each funder must be clearly listed on a separate line in a large Arial font, and in easy to read mixed case (not all capital letters).
  • Also applies to ads, print ads, mass mailers, robocalls, and online ads.  Radio ads and robocalls must clearly name the single largest funder.  Applies whether ads are paid for by corporations, unions, or millionaires.
  • Identifies original funders using earmarking and tracing rules so ads must show true funders instead of misleading names — even when funders try to hide behind multiple layers.

AB 700 is consistent with and fits together with the Voters' Right to Know initiative.  Both have nearly exactly the same provisions to implement that California DISCLOSE Act's on-ad disclosure rules.  The difference is that the Voters' Right to Know Act also gives California a constitutional right to know the true sources of political spending and has other disclosure an anti-corruption reforms, but must first qualify for the ballot and then be passed by the voters in November 2016.

The legislature shouldn't wait for the voters to pass the Voters' Right to Know Act.  They should put the California DISCLOSE Act into law immediately by passing AB 700!

AB 700 is Constitutional and Reasonable

  • 8 out of 9 justices in the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision noted the problems when groups run ads "while hiding behind dubious and misleading names" and said we need transparent disclosure for voters "to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages."
  • Required TV ad disclosures are the same time and space as current law — just much more effective.
  • Required radio ad disclosures are shorter than those in current law in most cases — but more effective.
  • "The California DISCLOSE Act, SB 52, stands on a firm constitutional bedrock and is worthy of support."
    Brennan Center for Justice, 4/24/2013
See our full comparison to current disclosure law to see how AB 700 is both reasonable and effective.

"Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed."
— Justice Antonin Scalia, writing in Doe v. Reed, 2010

Californians are Ready for the California DISCLOSE Act

  • 84% of California voters said they favored legislation to "increase the public disclosure requirements of initiative sponsors to more clearly identify who are its major funders" in the October 13, 2011 Field Poll, including 86% of Democrats, 88% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans.
  • Over 100,000 Californians have signed petitions urging the legislature to pass the California DISCLOSE Act.
"The overwhelming power of money to mislead voters is a profound moral issue."
— Reverend Dr. Rick Schlosser, Executive Director of California Church IMPACT, representing 1.5 million people of faith in California.

Tell voters who is really funding propositions and attack ads when it counts!

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Before and After Examples
California Disclose Act

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