Featured Op-Eds and Media Coverage

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

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

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

Here’s a bill that will help you figure out who’s trying to buy your vote

Sacramento Bee, by Senator Henry Stern and Assemblymember Mark Berman, 9/27/17

Voters should have the right to know the identities of people and organizations asking for their votes. By no longer allowing special interests to hide behind meaningless committee names, AB 249 would serve as an example to the nation for achieving more meaningful campaign disclosure.  Full story

Gov. Brown must prove he’s a friend to transparency: Thomas D. Elias

Los Angeles Times, by Thomas Elias, 9/25/17

It??™s up to Brown now, and what he does on arguably the most important bill to pass the Legislature in years will go a long way toward defining how he??™ll be remembered.  Full story

California Legislature Passes “California DISCLOSE Act,” a Complex but Clarifying Update to the State’s Political Advertising Di

Inside Political Law, by Andrew Garrahan, 9/18/17

Over the weekend, the California legislature passed AB249, the California DISCLOSE Act, a controversial set of campaign finance disclosure rules that have been years in the making. The law now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown??™s approval.  Full story

Proponents Of "California Disclose Act" Announce Deal, 7-Years Later

Capital Public Radio, by Ben Bradford, 8/23/17

A California bill that would require more disclosure about donors in campaign ads is nearing passage, after seven years of attempts by proponents. The “California DISCLOSE Act” requires most campaign ads to display their top three funders, even if those contributions were funneled through other generically-named committees.  Full story

Marin Voice: Legislation aims to neutralize big money in politics

Marin Independent Journal, by Greg Brockbank, 5/9/15

"The public is increasingly dismayed by the torrent of political ads bombarding airwaves and mail boxes at election time. The year 2016 is expected to be a record-breaking year, with estimated expenditures of $3.5 billion..."  Full story

‘Disclose Act’: antidote to dismal voter turnouts?

Los Angeles Daily News, by Thomas Elias, 4/2/15

"... All of which means that although the latest version of the DISCLOSE Act would still leave plenty more to be done, it would be a big step toward voters??™ understanding the political process and leveling a playing field that now tilts markedly toward large corporations..."   Full story

Why did labor oppose transparency?

East Bay Express, by Robert Gammon, 9/10/14

"Ever since organized labor killed legislation late last month that would have improved transparency in political campaigns in California, many rank-and-file Democrats and good-government advocates have been angry and bewildered."  Full story

DISCLOSE Act would let voters know who's paying for campaign ads

Los Angeles Daily News, by Thomas Elias, 12/16/13

"That's what made the DISCLOSE Act the most important bill the Legislature considered in the past year, more so than fracking regulations, prison changes, drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants or anything else. It will be again in 2014."  Full story

Tom Elias: 'DISCLOSE Act' is year's most vital bill

Redding Record Searchlight, by Thomas Elias, 6/3/13

"That reality makes SB 52, the so-called DISCLOSE Act sponsored by Democratic state Sens. Mark Leno of San Francisco and Jerry Hill of San Mateo County, the single most important measure state lawmakers will consider this year."  Full story

California campaign finance reform bills pass Senate

Independent Voter Network, by Alex Gauthier, 5/30/13

Following a series of votes Wednesday and earlier this week, Senate bills 2, 3, 27, and 52 are on their way out of the California Senate and into the Assembly. Each measure would amend the Political Reform Act of 1974 in different ways.  Full story

States Try to Tackle Secret Money in Politics

Los Angeles Times, by Matea Gold, Chris Megerian and Mark Z. Barabak, 5/2/13

Lawmakers in more than a dozen states have proposed legislation to force such groups to disclose their donors. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a measure Thursday requiring independent groups that make election-related donations or expenditures of $6,000 or more . . . to disclose information about their top donors.   Full story

Following the (Dark) Money with Matea Gold

NPR, by BillMoyers.com Staff, 3/19/13

" . . . if there is a push for disclosure on one level you kind of run into a wall to find out who the original source is. And that’s exactly what happened in California this year when a group donated $11 million to influence ballot initiatives, and when California regulators tried to follow the trail back they ran into three different (c)(4)s that had been kind of the daisy chain of sources but never the original donor."  Full story

Russ Feingold on the Path to Campaign Finance Reform

Public Campaign, by BillMoyers.com Staff, 3/16/13

"Our agenda is to make it clear to people that we can overturn this [Citizens United] decision. But in the meantime, we can pass disclosure laws. You know, eight to one, the same Court in Citizens United said of course there should be disclosure . . . So getting that through Congress, passing disclosure at the state level, as in California. They’re very close to it."  Full story

FPPC pulls thread on laundered money

Sacramento Bee, by Dan Morain, 2/12/13

"With Washington divided, there's no chance of fixing federal campaign finance law. There are, however, bills in California to force more disclosure. If ever there were an argument for disclosure, the curious case of the laundered $11 million is it."  Full story

COURSEY: Small steps toward campaign transparency

Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, by Chris Coursey, 1/2/13

Last year, two attempts to pass what's known as the California DISCLOSE Act fell just a couple of votes short in the Assembly. . . . Now, Democrats have the votes to get it passed. . . . All it does is require campaign advertising — broadcast, print, online — to prominently include the names of its top three funding sources.  Full story

Lawmakers try to curb anonymous political donations in California

Los Angeles Times, by Michael J. Mishak, 12/29/12

State lawmakers are moving to curb anonymous political donations in California after a national election in which nonprofit groups secretly poured hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns. . . . State Sens. Mark Leno and Jerry Hill have introduced SB 52, which would require the top three funders of political ads to be identified in the spots . . .  Full story

Hill, Leno push for disclosure in political ads

Palo Alto Online, by Gennady Sheyner, 12/21/12

Political advertisements would have to clearly identify their top three funders under legislation that state Sens. Jerry Hill and Mark Leno introduced Thursday, Dec. 20.  The DISCLOSE Act, which stands for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections, would also require campaign websites to identify the top funders of political ads.  Full story

California Democrats seek to shine light on mystery donors

Oakland Tribune, by Steven Harmon, 12/20/12

SB 52, the DISCLOSE Act, would require that the top three contributors to political ads identify themselves on the ads and on the campaign's website. Sens. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, are its co-authors.  Full story

California Democrats propose stricter campaign disclosure laws

Sacramento Bee, by Capitol Alert, 12/20/12

Earlier today, state Sens. Mark Leno and Jerry Hill announced that they have introduced legislation that would require broader disclosure of a campaign's major funding sources in political ads.  Full story

The push for more campaign disclosure

Orange County Register, by Martin Wisckol, 12/14/12

Craig Preston wants campaign advertisements to includes the names – and where applicable, company logos – of the three biggest donors.   Full story

Viewpoints: Change the campaign disclosure game

Sacramento Bee, by Trent Lange, 11/25/12

"It took weeks of legal suits and an emergency ruling by the California Supreme Court to compel Americans for Responsible Leadership to reveal its hidden funding sources... We need to restore sanity and transparency to our elections by passing the California DISCLOSE Act."   Full story

Steve Lopez: Time to disclose the political funny money

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Lopez, 11/7/12

"Oh, the games we play in politics, where money flows like never before, thanks in part to the Citizens United decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court opened the floodgates of anonymous spending...  Trent Lange, director of the California Clean Money Campaign, figures the shenanigans might help in the nonprofit's next attempt to require full disclosure of donors to political causes."  Full story

Break the grip of wealthy interests controlling California's ballot measure system

San Jose Mercury News, by Daniel G. Newman, 11/7/12

"In the wake of the $372 million contributed to California ballot measures to date, including scandalous anonymous donations, a stronger version of the Disclose Act will return to Sacramento with more strength and citizen support..."  Full story

California Supreme Court forced revelation of $11m

Palo Alto Online, by Elaine Elbizri, 11/5/12

"... It also illustrates how badly we need to pass the California DISCLOSE Act next year to strengthen our disclosure laws and to make sure that political ads have to show who really pays for them."  Full story

Advocacy Group Names Government Accountability Champions

Monterey County Weekly, by Arvin Temkar, 11/2/12

A nonprofit campaign reform group has named several assembly members and state senators as "champions" of campaign reform legislation.  California Clean Money Action Fund endorsed five bills that would tighten disclosure and accountability requirements in campaigns. The nonprofit released a scorecard that reviews legislators' votes for the bill.  Full story

Pavley asks that 'demonstrably false' TV ad be pulled by stations

Ventura County Star, by Timm Herdt, 9/28/12

A perfect example of why we need the California DISCLOSE Act:  False ads attacking Senator Fran Pavley that hide that they're being paid for by business interests like the National Association of Realtors, Anthem Blue Cross, Chevron and Philip Morris.
  Full story

Elias: Vote against transparency explains GOP plight

Ventura County Star, by Thomas Elias, 3/29/12

"Nowhere was that more obvious than in a late-winter legislative vote on a bill known as the California Disclose Act, a project of the California Clean Money Campaign, whose central tenet is that voters should be informed about who is spending big money to influence government policy, and how much...."  Full story

Evil lurks in Super PACs

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Lopez, 2/29/12

"... One of the more compelling arguments in favor of disclosure is a simple question, and it can be addressed to both legislators and campaign donors:  What do they have to hide?"  Full story

Fletcher touts stronger campaign finance rules

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Christopher Cadelago, 2/20/12

Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, on Monday announced a new version of the California DISCLOSE Act.  Full story

Lawmakers, listen up: Voters want more disclosure

Capitol Weekly, by Michelle Romero, 2/6/12

"Last week, California legislators had a chance to take a small but crucial step toward improving transparency and accountability in California’s increasingly dysfunctional political process. They failed, but this fight is far from over:  Results from The Greenlining Institute’s just-released voter survey show that voters demand action."  Full story

Bouquets and Brickbats: No light shed on financing

San Luis Obispo Tribune, Editorial, 2/3/12

"So much for transparency. Assembly Bill 1148 — more commonly known as the California DISCLOSE Act — died in the Assembly this week, just two votes shy of the necessary two-thirds majority... Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian voted against it, although he said he strongly supports more transparency in campaign finance laws."  Full story

Lynne Plambeck: We need openness in campaigns

Santa Clarita Valley Signal, by Lynne Plambeck, 1/27/12

"Many local residents will be visiting and calling our local legislator, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, to urge him to vote for this important issue. You can participate in this action by contacting his local office and urging his support for the California DISCLOSE Act..."  Full story

Groundbreaking Political Advertising Disclosure Bill Moves to Assembly Floor

California Progress Report, by Trent Lange, 1/27/12

"... with overwhelming bipartisan support from a public that is engaged and cares deeply about transparency and disclosure, we’re hopeful that enough Democrats and Republicans will come together to do the right thing and pass it on Tuesday."  Full story

DISCLOSE Act moves through Assembly

Berkeley Daily Planet, by Richard Knee, 1/13/12

The Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee gave a 5-0 thumbs-up Monday to the California DISCLOSE Act (Assembly Bill 1148), which would require political ads on the web, radio and TV, and in print to identify who paid for them.   Full story

States push back on Citizens United ruling

San Francisco Bay Guardian, by Lisa Carmack, 1/12/12

With the upcoming anniversary of the Citizens United decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed corporations to make unlimited campaign contributions, California Assembly member Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) is pushing a bill to ensure that corporate entities making political donations are required to at least disclose those contributions.   Full story

More than 80 Testify for Brownley's Campaign Bill

The LookOut news, by Lookout Staff, 1/10/12

More than 80 speakers on Monday testified in favor of a bill by Santa Monica Assembly member Julia Brownley that requires political ads to identify their top three funders - AB 1148, the California Disclose Act.   Full story

More Light Please: Campaign for California Bill To Force Disclosure of Corporate Campaign Contributions

Huffington Post, by Alex Brant-Zawadzki, 1/10/12

The local campaign for AB 1148, the California DISCLOSE Act was kicked off in San Francisco to bring more light into the state's political processes.? The goal of DISCLOSE is to shine a light on the real money and influence in California politics.  Full story