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.
The California Clean Money Campaign sponsored Assembly Bill
249, calling it one of the most important disclosure bills
in the nation. The measure, a multiyear effort supported by
government transparency advocates throughout the state,
will require political advertisements to include a list of
the top three financial contributors to the committee
paying for the ad.
â€œNo more fine print,â€
Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, the South San Francisco Democrat
who authored the bill, said in a statement.
â€œCalifornia voters will now be able to
make informed decisions, based on honest information about
who the true funders are of campaign ads. This transparency
is critical to our democracy and I am proud that California
has taken this historic first step to shine the light on
??Ëœdark money.??â"¢ Hopefully this
will encourage others to follow suit.â€
The head of the state??â"¢s political ethics
watchdog agency and its staff members questioned whether
the bill lived up to its â€œCalifornia
DISCLOSE Actâ€ moniker. Staff analysts with the
Fair Political Practices Commission recommended the
four-member panel oppose AB 249 because it reduced the
fines they can dish out to groups that violate advertising
laws. The staff also argued the bill would make it harder
for them to prove some campaign finance cases.