Voters ask area Senate Elections Committee Chair Lou Correa and other leaders to support SB 52
Santa Ana, Mar 23 - Fed-up with political ads that hide the "big money" interest groups that are secretly buying California elections, over 100 Orange County citizens and leaders attended the kickoff event for SB 52, the California DISCLOSE Act, at the Delhi Community Center in Santa Ana on Saturday.
"We're here to send a message that we want disclosure in politics," said former Assemblymember Jose Solorio, a supporter of SB 52. "Let's move this state, let's make all of California have accountable state politics."
Supporters of the bill explain that voters usually don't know who is funding or supporting candidates and propositions. The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns. Over $425 million was spent on ballot measures in California alone, most of it hiding behind misleading names like "Stop Special Interest Money Now" and the "2012 Auto Insurance Discounts Act".
SB 52, authored by Senators Mark Leno and Jerry Hill and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign, will change that by requiring all political ads paid for by outside groups and for ballot measures to clearly and prominently list their top three funders. It will also institute new disclosure requirements to "follow the money" to make sure the disclosures show the actual original individuals, corporations, or unions that gave the money -- not made up committee or non-profit names.
Speakers at the event included Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), former Assemblymember and Community College Trustee Jose Solorio, Costa Mesa Councilmember Sandy Genis, and representatives of some of the 38 organizations that co-sponsored the kickoff. Representatives for Congressmember Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Assemblymember Tom Daly also spoke.
"That's the really the premise of SB 52. Ask who this funding is from,", said Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva. "I certainly support SB 52" You can count on my support."
SB 52 faces its first test on April 16th in the Senate Elections Committee, for which Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) is the Chair and a key to its success. Senator Correa has two disclosure bills of his own: SB 26, a bill improving the clarity of disclosure on slate mailers, and SB 27, a bill forcing secretive 501c4 non-profit organizations to disclose their contributors to the Secretary of State's website.
"Senator Correa's authorship of important disclosure bills like SB 26 and SB 27 shows that he's a strong supporter or transparency in elections," said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign, the sponsor of the California DISCLOSE Act. "We're sure that he'll support SB 52, also, when he has a chance to see how well it fits with his disclosure bills and how it makes sure that voters clearly see the funders of the political ads."
After the speakers, citizens volunteered to join the grassroots campaign to pass SB 52, with some even volunteering to carpool up to lobby in Sacramento. Over 85,000 Californians have signed petitions urging the legislature to pass the California DISCLOSE Act since 2011. A Field Poll in October 2011 indicated that 84 percent of registered California voters favored legislation to increase public disclosure requirements of initiative sponsors, including 78 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of Democrats and 88 percent of Independents.
"The California DISCLOSE Act is really about creating freedom. The freedom of our voters to know, 'who's trying to sway my vote,'", said Dr. Jose Moreno, President of Los Amigos. "Knowing who is determining our vote is critical for all of us."
The 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.