The Clean Money Year in Pictures — 2019!
In 2019 California Clean Money had our third year in a row of major disclosure victories working with our legislative champions and our coalition partners to make California lead the way against secret money in politics!
We passed the nation-leading Petition DISCLOSE Act (SB 47) and Text Media DISCLOSE Act (AB 201). Los Angeles and San Francisco strengthened their small-donor matching funds systems. We also made progress on two other major disclosure bills and funding for Open-Source Paper Ballot Voting Systems for more secure and transparent elections.
Accomplishing so much would be huge in any year, but doing it right after our seven victories in 2018 and our historic passage of AB 249 the California DISCLOSE Act in 2017 demonstrates the great momentum we've built against secretive Big Money in politics.
And that's just the beginning! In 2020, we're going to need your help to push forward our other game-changing bills that made progress this year but face significant opposition: AB 1217, the Issue Ad DISCLOSE Act, SB 636, the Ballot DISCLOSE Act, and AB 1784, the Secure the Vote Act!
A great way to tell the story of Clean Money's big year is with pictures from major events! There were many nail-biters when progress came only after huge grassroots activism from Clean Money supporters like you. See some of the highlights in pictures below!
Clean Money activists gathered over 21,000 signatures on paper petitions at rallies and marches like the Women's Marches, at conventions, at farmers markets, and even from friends, families, and coworkers — a crucial part of our winning campaigns!
Pictured here at our booth in June at the California Democratic Party convention are Open-Source Paper Ballot Voting advocate and Assembly candidate Brandii Grace, Clean Money organizer Katherine Carpio, AB 1784 author Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, Executive Director Trent Lange, San Francisco Coordinator David Schmidt, and champion signature-gatherer Chris Hamilton.
You can download petitions and materials to gather signatures yourself for our new bills here!
Over 100 Clean Money grassroots leaders and activists from all around Northern California gathered at our all-day summit in Palo Alto on March 30th for detailed trainings and planning the campaign for Clean Money bills. They were joined by Clean Money Champion legislators AB 1217 author Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin, AB 2188 Senate floor manager Senator Jerry Hill, and AB 249 Principal Coauthor Assemblymember Marc Berman, plus other supportive speakers like Assemblymember Kansen Chu. All our victories rely on activists and legislative champions like them!
At the top left of the pictures are people being recognized as 2018 Clean Money Champions for their tremendous grassroots activism. In the front row from left to right are Craig Dunkerley, Graham Huey, Carla Kincaid-Yoshikawa, Jennifer Heggie, and . In the second row are speaker Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, Chris Hamilton, Nancy Neff, Ralph Finley, Judie Pogue, and Gary Appell, Clean Money champions Assemblymember Marc Berman, former Assemblymember Sally Lieber, and Senator Jerry Hill. In the back row are speaker Burlingame City Councilmember Mike Brownrigg, Clean Money Executive Director Trent Lange, David Schmidt, Greg Pennington, Pat Lang, Shirley Shelangoski, and Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin.
Soon after our grassroots summit, over 100 Clean Money grassroots activists, legislative leaders, and coalition partners rallied in Sacramento to call for passage of SB 47 the Petition DISCLOSE At, AB 1217 the Issue Ad DISCLOSE Act, SB 636 the Ballot DISCLOSE Act, and AB 1784 the Secure the VOTE Act.
Pictured above speaking at the rally starting at the top left are SB 47 author Senator Ben Allen, AB 1217 author Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin, SB 636 author Senator Henry Stern, AB 1784 authors Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Miguel Santiago, and David Chiu, AB 1784 principal coauthor Senator Scott Wiener, plus Assemblymembers Laura Friedman and Sharon Quirk-Silva, and last, but definitely not least, Republican Senator Ling Ling Chang, whose bipartisan leadership has been crucial to the passage of several of our DISCLOSE Act bills to stop secret money.
Immediately after the rally, activists joined us for our lobby day to ask Senators to vote Yes on AB 1217 and AB 1784 -- a lobby day that helped lead both to overwhelming bipartisan Senate victories in May!
34 Clean Money activists from across California came to speak at the Senate Elections Committee hearing in Sacramento in support of SB 636, the Ballot DISCLOSE Act, our bill authored by Clean Money Champion Senator Henry Stern to provide voters the information they want and need of who supports and opposes state ballot measures on the ballot itself.
After hearing from Senator Stern, Clean Money Executive Director Trent Lange, and supporters from across the state, the Senate Elections Committee voted 4-0 to pass SB 636, led by Senate Elections Committee Chair Tom Umberg. It later passed the Senate floor on May 23 on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 31-5, with every Democrat voting "Yes" along with Republican Senators Andreas Borgeas, Ling Ling Chang, and Scott Wilk.
Unfortunately, due to last minute opposition by the California Clerks and Election Officials about potential increased costs of printing ballots, SB 636 didn't get a vote in the Assembly Elections Committee. But given how important SB 636 is to ensure Californians know where organizations they trust stand on state ballot measures, Senator Stern will be asking the Assembly Elections Committee to hear it again in 2020, so stay tuned!
43 Clean Money activists from across California came to speak at the Assembly Elections Committee hearing in Sacramento in support of AB 1217, the Issue DISCLOSE Act, the first-in-the-nation bill that we're working on with author and Clean Money Champion Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin to require lobbying issue ads that try to kill or pass bills to clearly show who really pays for them.
After hearing from AB 1217 author Assemblymember Mullin, Clean Money Executive Director Trent Lange, Andrew Muse-Fisher of the League of Women Voters of California, and the supporters shown above, the Assembly Elections Committee voted 6-0 to pass AB 1217, led by Assembly Elections Committee Chair Marc Berman and including the bipartisan support of Republican Assemblymember Chad Mayes, who joined as a coauthor. It later passed the Assembly floor on May 29 on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 65-4.
AB 1217 was made into a two-year bill to give Assemblymember Mullin a chance to try to address concerns expressed by some stakeholders. So watch for updates on when it will be headed to the Senate Elections Committee!
The same Assembly Elections Committee hearing that heard AB 1217 also heard AB 1784, the Secure the VOTE Act, our bill with authors Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, David Chiu, and Lorena Gonzalez. AB 1784 will make elections more secure by providing matching funds for counties to develop publicly owned Open-Source Paper Ballot Voting Systems that can replace easily hacked corporate owned voting systems.
After hearing inspirational testimony on the importance of open-source paper-ballot voting systems to secure our elections by authors Assemblymember Santiago and Gonzales (shown above), Clean Money Executive Director Trent Lange, and other supporters from across the state, the Assembly Elections Committee voted 6-1 to pass AB 1217, led by Assembly Elections Committee Chair Marc Berman and including the bipartisan support of Republican Assemblymember Chad Mayes. It later passed the Assembly floor on May 29 on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 60-12.
AB 1784 was made into a two-year bill because it requires a $16 million budget allocation and the legislature didn't provide those matching funds in the current budget. Watch for updates on next steps!
A roomful activists and leaders participated in our campaign kickoff in San Francisco to push to secure the vote by passing AB 1784 for Publicly-Owned Open-Source Paper Ballot Voting Systems to replace insecure proprietary voting systems from corporate vendors that count votes with secret software.
Leaders who spoke are shown in the second row above: AB 1784 author Assemblymember David Chiu, principal coauthor Senator Scott Wiener, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, California Democratic Party Women's Caucus Chair Christine Pelosi, Clean Money Executive Director Trent Lange, and Chair of the California State Board of Equalization Malia Cohen (who was crucial to providing initial funding for San Francisco's open-source voting project when she was Budget Chair of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors). Additional speakers included San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa and San Francisco County Supervisor Matt Haney.
A roomful of Clean Money grassroots activists, coalition leaders, and key legislators from around Southern California gathered to rally and organize for passage of four of this year's Clean Money bills.
Shown in or near the front row (left to right) are speakers Mike Young (League of Conservation Voters of California), Sandra Fluke (Voices for Progress), Senator Maria Elena Durazo, LA Councilmember David Ryu, AB 1784 author Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Teresa Priem (Progressive Democrats of America CA), Clean Money Executive Director Trent Lange, LA Councilmember Mike Bonin, and Rob Quan (Unrig LA). Also speaking was Clean Money Champion and SB 47 author Senator Ben Allen.
A new loophole has recently emerged for secret money to use mass texting services to barrage voters with political messages that hide who pays for them. Working with the California Clean Money Campaign and Senate Elections Committee Chair Tom Umberg,, AB 201 author Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes showed great leadership to close this loophole by amending AB 201 to be a strong Text Message DISCLOSE Act requiring political text messages to disclose who pays for them, including the top funder of texts sent by SuperPACs and for and against ballot measures.
AB 201 had powerful opponents, but a coalition of 26 state and national reform and activist organizations urged the legislature to pass it and Governor Newsom to sign it and Clean Money activists made thousands of calls. AB 201 passed the Senate and Assembly on nearly unanimous bipartisan votes of 34-1 and 72-1, without any Republican "No" votes. Its passage was ensured by the leadership of author Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes working with floor manager Senator Ben Allen and coauthor Senator Jerry Hill. Republican Senators Ling Ling Chang and Brian Dahle led the effort that helped persuade every Republican except one to vote "Yes". Senate Elections Chair Tom Umberg and Assembly Elections Chair Marc Berman, along with Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, joint author Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin, and especially Governor Gavin Newsom also deserve great credit for this historic victory.
The pictures above show Assemblymember Cervantes celebrating with Clean Money executive director Trent Lange after AB 201 passed the Assembly. To the right are Raquel Parra (Courage Campaign), Evan Minton (Voices for Progress), Christine Pelosi, Trent Lange, Mark Powers (California Broadcasters Association), Nicolas Heidorn (Common Cause), and Paco Torres (Assemblymember Cervantes' Legislative Director) meeting with Priscilla Cheng (middle) of Governor Newsom's staff and to deliver 41,284 signatures in support of AB 201.
Our press release, "Gov. Newsom signs landmark disclosure bills: Petition DISCLOSE Act and Text Message DISCLOSE Act!", summed up the great news.
As SB 47 author and Clean Money Champion Senator Ben Allen said:
"Every election season, voters are bombarded with requests to sign initiative petitions by paid signature gatherers who aren't required to disclose or even know who's paying for the initiatives they've been hired to qualify. Now that the Petition DISCLOSE Act has been signed by Governor Newsom to build on the California DISCLOSE Act, voters will know who's behind the initiatives they're being asked to help put on the ballot."As AB 201 author Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes said:
"AB 201, the Text Message DISCLOSE Act, represents a balanced approach to getting dark money out of our politics. It provides California voters with information about who is paying for campaign text messages without burdening the ability to communicate a political message. Voters deserve to know which entities are paying for the campaign media that is being sent to them, and the reforms provided by AB 201 accomplish that goal. I want to thank Governor Newsom for signing the bill into law, and Clean Money Campaign for advocating so strongly on behalf of AB 201. This new law ensures that California continues to lead the way on requiring transparency in political campaigns."California Clean Money Campaign President and Executive Director Trent Lange said:
"Governor Newsom has started his term with the bold statement that California will continue leading the nation in political transparency by signing the Petition DISCLOSE Act and Text Message DISCLOSE Act to close loopholes for secret money in politics. Every American who cares about democracy owes an enduring debt of gratitude to Governor Newsom, Senator Ben Allen, Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes, Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin, and all the other bold leaders in the California Legislature of both parties who helped SB 47 and AB 201 pass."These are the first bills in the nation to close major loopholes for secret money behind political text messages and initiative campaigns, adding to California's national leadership on disclosure. Both expand on the California DISCLOSE Act, the nation's most comprehensive campaign disclosure law, passed in 2017 after a long campaign, that requires political ads to clearly show their top funders.
Both bills were supported by major coalitions of state and national good government and activist organizations. We submitted 56,687 signatures to Governor Newsom in support of SB 47, and 41,284 signatures in support of AB 201. Thousands of Californians called, commented, emailed, or used social media to ask for his signature.
Thanks to all of you who helped make these historic victories possible. Both were huge disclosure victories for Clean Money grassroots to stop Big Secret Money!
On July 2, after a prolonged coalition campaign, Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to pass a final crucial amendment to give Los Angeles one of the best examples of a small-donor public financing matching funds system in the country.
After amendments last December, the city's public financing system magnfies the power of small donors by matching donations from individuals living in the city 6-to-1, but only on the first $114 dollars of their donation, so the match doesn't advantage big donors, unlike the city's previous higher limits. The final amendment that passed on July 2nd lowers the qualifying threshold so that grassroots candidates have a chance to participate, making a fairer system for all.
Councilmember Mike Bonin (shown in the middle above) led to pass the "Bonin Amendment" that ensured that strong grassroots candidates can qualify. Shown in the picture are also key participants in its passage: Wayne Williams (California Clean Money Campaign), Councilmember Paul Koretz, Carolina Goodman (League of Women Voters of LA), Michele Sutter (Money Out Voters In), and especially Rob Quan (Unrig LA). Councilmember David Ryu was also crucial to getting the original 6-to-1 matching funds proposal passed, as was California Common Cause, LA Forward, and the rest of the coalition of 52 local, state, and national organizations who supported Councilmember Bonin's amendment.
Then, on October 2nd, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed similar amendments to strengthen its matching funds system to further empower small donors in its elections. Like Los Angeles, San Francisco increased the matching funds rate to 6-to-1 and lowered the maximum amount of a donation that is matched, to $150. The ordinance was introduced at the Board of Supervisors by Supervisor Gordon Mar and supported by the San Francisco Ethics Commission and a local grassroots campaingn led by long-time San Francisco public financing advocate Steven Hill.
Together Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Berkeley (whose voters recently passed a similar 6-to-1 small donor matching funds system) are showing the way to robust public financing matching funds systems that empower small donors and grassroots candidates to have a better chance against Big Money special interests.
California to Continue Leading Nation Against Big Money — With Your Help!
This year's major victories continue our winning streak, after prevailing on an astounding 7 out of 7 Clean Money priorities in 2018 and passing the landmark California DISCLOSE Act in 2017. Together we showed that we can improve our democracy when we stand as one.
We're already hard at work on next year's attacks against secretive Big Money in politics. We'll push to pass AB 1217, the Issue Ad DISCLOSE Act, and SB 636, the Ballot DISCLOSE Act. At the same time, we'll keep seeking funding with AB 1784 the Secure the VOTE Act for development of Open-Source Source Paper Ballot Voting Systems so vote-counting isn't done by easily hacked secret software from corporate vendors.
1) Become a member of the California Clean Money Action Fund to support our grassroots efforts against Big Money every month.
2) Sign up as a Clean Money Rapid Responder to boost key Clean Money posts on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or DailyKos!
Thanks again for all you do, from everyone at California Clean Money,
— Trent, D'Marie, Catherine, Katherine, Wayne, Kevin, Nancy, David, Craig, and everybody else at the California Clean Money Campaign and California Clean Money Action Fund