California Church IMPACT Endorses AB 1148, the California DISCLOSE ACT of 2012
Says real disclosure in political ads addresses a "profound moral issue"
SACRAMENTO - An organization representing 21 denominations with 1.5 million members within the mainline and progressive Protestant communities of faith is the latest major organization to support the injection of transparency into the election campaign process. The group, California Church IMPACT, joins the California Clean Money Campaign, California Common Cause, and the California Nurses Association in endorsing AB 1148, the California DISCLOSE Act of 2012.
Authored by Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign, AB 1148 will require millionaires, corporate CEO's and other Big Money contributors who buy political ads to reveal their true identities in those ads, rather than hiding behind innocuous sounding names like "Stop Hidden Taxes" or the "California Jobs Initiative". Under AB 1148, the largest funder of an ad would have to appear in the ad, identify themselves, and say that they "helped pay for this message and approve it".
"The overwhelming power of money to mislead voters is a profound moral issue ," said the Reverend Dr. Rick Schlosser, Executive Director of California Church IMPACT. "Voters deserve real disclosure in political ads so they know which powerful special interests are trying to buy elections and can make more informed decisions on which messages to believe."
The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision unleashed unlimited, anonymous corporate and other spending on campaigns. In California, nearly $200 million was spent on November 2010 ballot measures alone, most by corporations hiding behind committees with misleading names. Studies have shown that anonymous spending groups are significantly more likely to fund negative advertisements.
"AB 1148 is a far-reaching effort to lift the veil on the hidden Big Money political campaign spenders in California," said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign, the sponsor of the California DISCLOSE Act. "It would stop special interests from being able to influence elections without voters knowing who's really behind the ads they're seeing."
AB 1148 applies to all ads supporting or opposing ballot measures or ads supporting or opposing candidates paid for by independent expenditures. As an amendment to the Political Reform Act of 1974, AB 1148 can either be put into effect by a 2/3 vote of the legislature or by a majority vote placing a measure on the ballot for the voters to decide.
"The California DISCLOSE Act is a critical piece of legislation to fight unregulated corporate influence over California elections ", said Jo Seidita, Chair of the California Clean Money Campaign. "Californians have a right to know who is financing the ads that they are constantly bombarded with during election season."
There is overwhelming support of legislation requiring greater disclosure in political ads, as indicated by the 89% of voters who favored legislation requiring ads to say which corporations paid for them, in a national poll done by Hart Research in June 2010 .
California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan 501(c)3 organization
dedicated to lessening the unfair influence of Big Money on election
campaigns. For further information, visit www.CAclean.org.