Landmark disclosure bill, California DISCLOSE Act, AB 700, Passes Assembly

* Bill providing dramatically increased transparency and disclosure for political ads passes Assembly on overwhelming 60-15 bipartisan vote

By Press Release
California Clean Money Campaign, January 27th, 2016

SACRAMENTO, CA -- With a bipartisan vote in the State Assembly today, California moved one step closer to enacting the nation's most comprehensive election disclosure law. Assembly Bill 700, authored by Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign, requires all non-candidate campaign committees to clearly and prominently disclose the identity of their top three true funders on their campaign advertisements.

"Voters deserve transparency in our electoral process," said Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez. "Today's vote moves us forward in the fight to undo the influence of unlimited money in our elections created by the Citizens United decision. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to stand with me and the California Clean Money Campaign and deliver this bill to Governor Brown."

The Assembly vote was 60-15, with every Democrat voting Yes, joined by Republican Assemblymembers Katcho Achadjian (San Luis Obispo), Catharine Baker (San Ramon), Ling-Ling Chang (Chino Hills), David Hadley (Torrance), Tom Lackey (Palmdale), Eric Linder (Corona), Kristin Olsen (Modesto), Marc Steinorth (Rancho Cucamonga), and Scott Wilk (Valencia). Assemblymembers Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles), Marc Levine (D-Marin County), Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles), and David Chiu (D-San Francisco) joined Assemblymember Gomez in speaking for the bill.

The groundswell of support for AB 700 is demonstrated by more 54,000 Californians who signed petitions for AB 700 -- including petitions hosted and shared on CREDO Mobilize, MoveOn.org Petitions, Causes.com, and the websites of the California Clean Money Campaign and People Demanding Action. More than 13,000 people emailed their Assemblymember and hundreds called their offices during the four days prior to the vote.

"The explosion of unaccountable big-money campaigns is the root cause of voter disgust and disenfranchisement with the elections process. Outside groups spent more than $640 million on state ballot measures in 2012 and 2014," said Assemblymember Marc Levine, joint author of AB 700. "A core principle in our elections process is that the democracy works best when the public is fully informed. When millions are being spent on either side of a ballot measure, the public has a right to know who is trying to influence their vote."

Under AB 700, all ballot measure committees and PACs supporting or opposing candidates will be required to display the names of their top 3 true funders on a solid black background on the bottom third of the screen for a full 5 seconds in television and video ads. Each name must be displayed on a separate line in a large clear font without using difficult to read full capitalization. Similar disclosure rules will exist for radio, print and online ads, and robocalls.

The California DISCLOSE Act also creates new rules for earmarking and tracking of contributions to committees to identify true funders when they try to hide behind shell groups with misleading names.

"With this landmark, first in the nation bill, we've never been closer, anywhere in the country, to shining a light on Dark Money in all its forms by making it illegal for voters to be misled about who is truly paying for political ads," said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign. "Every Californian who cares about the integrity and honesty of our electoral process owes Assemblymember Gomez a huge 'thank you' for his tenacious championing of this cause and this bill."

AB 700 is now headed to the State Senate for their approval.



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The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization that has been dedicated to educating the public about the need to lessen the unfair influence of Big Money on election campaigns since 2001. For further information, visit www.CAclean.org.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

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