Editorial: Vote for transparency

Ventura County Star, February 29th, 2012

Despite heavy pressure from special interests, it's good to see supporters of a bill that aims to toughen the state's political reporting requirements aren't about to give up.

Last month, Assembly Bill 1148, the California Disclose Act, failed by two votes to win the needed two-thirds majority. The rejection by lawmakers was an affront to voters, who, according to an October Field Poll, support increased disclosure, with an overwhelming 84 percent of them in favor.

The bill, carried by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, would have forced political ads placed by special-interest groups (read PACs) on TV, radio and in print, their mass mailers and websites to report the actual names of the top three contributors giving $10,000 or more, whether they're individuals, businesses or other types of organizations (read unions).

It would have also required a website address be published so the public could find additional information about the top 10 financial contributors.

Like its predecessor, the new California Disclose Act, AB 1648, introduced Feb. 13 by Assemblywoman Brownley would bring out from hiding the three largest contributors behind campaigns and ballot initiatives, especially those that deliberately attempt to fool voters with titles such as "Voters for a More Prosperous California" or "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act" or "California Jobs Initiative."

AB 1648 is a common-sense measure that will give voters more information so they can make sound, informed decisions on Election Day. As we stated in a previous editorial supporting AB 1148: "It is a reasonable step aimed at uncovering the influence of special-interest money in politics."

We urge lawmakers to approve AB 1648. And for those who vote to keep us in the dark, perhaps it's time to publicize their names for the voters to see.

See the article on Ventura County Star website

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