SACRAMENTO, CA - One of the most important disclosure bills
in the nation, AB 249, the California DISCLOSE Act,
should soon be getting a new author, Assembly Speaker pro
Tempore Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo). Assemblymember Mullin
is seeking to replace its original author, Assemblymember
Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles), who is now in Congress.
"Transparency in elections is critical to our democracy
and that includes transparency around the money being spent
on campaigns. I have requested permission to take over as
the lead author of AB 249, also known as the California
DISCLOSE Act," said Assemblymember Mullin. "I am
excited to work with my colleagues and Clean Money
supporters to champion this bill and seriously address the
issue of campaign disclosure."
Under AB 249, all ballot measure committees and independent
expenditure committees for and against candidates will be
required to display the names of their top 3 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. Similar disclosure rules will exist for radio ads,
print ads, and robocalls.
Perhaps most importantly, AB 249 creates new
follow-the-money rules for earmarking contributions to
ballot measures to identify their true funders when they
try to hide behind front groups with misleading names. No
other disclosure law in the country does as much.
"Voters want and deserve transparency in campaign
advertisements. To that end, I look forward to working
with Assemblymember Mullin to bring the DISCLOSE Act over
the finish line this year in AB 249,", said Senator Ben
Allen (D-Santa Monica), a Principal Coauthor of AB 249.
"I look forward to working with Assemblymember Mullin as
we continue our fight to shine a light on hidden money in
politics," said Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), a
Principal Coauthor of AB 249.
One of Assemblymember Gomez' last official acts while he
was still in the Assembly was to deliver amendments making
Assemblymember Mullin the new lead author of AB 249.
Unfortunately, the Senate Rules Committee did not accept
those amendments. Now Assemblymember Mullin has put in an
official request under Senate Rule 26 to take over
authorship of AB 249, which the Senate Rules Committee will
have to approve, hopefully at its next scheduled meeting
next Wednesday, July 19.
"We are thrilled that Assemblymember Mullin has stepped
up to lead in passing this crucial transparency legislation
into law now that Assemblymember Gomez is in Congress",
said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money
Campaign, sponsor of AB 249. "We call upon Senate
President pro Tem Kevin de Leon and his Senate Rules
Committee to allow this incredibly important and popular
disclosure bill to have the author we've requested and to
quickly give it a hearing and a vote."
Wednesday, the California Clean Money Campaign delivered
signatures from 81,801 Californians this year to Senate
President pro Tem de Leon's office urging him to pass the
California DISCLOSE Act. One of the largest
coalition petitions ever for state legislation is behind AB
249, including 23 state and national good government
organizations ranging from Common Cause, Maplight, Money
Out/Voters In and Public Citizen to Courage Campaign,
CREDO, Daily Kos, Fight for Reform, SumOfUs, and the
California League of Conservation Voters.
Californians from all major political parties have
overwhelmingly stated their support for greater disclosure.
A poll by the Public Policy Institute of California in
October 2013 found 84 percent of likely California voters
favored legislation to increase public disclosure of
funding sources in initiative campaigns. Those in favor
include 80 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of Democrats
and 85 percent of Independents.
"The California DISCLOSE Act is critical to stopping
ballot measure ads from intentionally deceiving voters
about who pays for them," said Senator Henry Stern
(D-Calabasas), Chair of the Senate Elections Committee and
a Principal Coauthor of AB 249. "The legislature needs
to weigh in and hopefully move this important disclosure
bill forward in time for it to be in effect for the 2018
DISCLOSE is an acronym for Democracy is Strengthened by
Casting Light on Spending in Elections.
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.