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League of Women Voters of CA Endorses AB 1148, the California DISCLOSE Act

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SACRAMENTO -- The League of Women Voters of California announced its support for the California DISCLOSE Act requiring greater transparency in the election campaign process. The League joins the California Clean Money Campaign, California Common Cause, California Church Impact, and the California Nurses Association in endorsing AB 1148, the California DISCLOSE Act.

Authored by Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign, AB 1148 will require the largest funder of each political television, video and radio add to "stand by their ad" by appearing onscreen and saying that they "helped pay for this message and approve it."   These requirements will apply to both ballot measure ads and independent expenditure ads for or against a candidate. No one will be able to miss who the largest funders of ads are.

"The League works to make sure that all voters go to the polls fully informed about the issues on the ballot," said Jennifer A. Waggoner, President of the League of Women Voters of California. "The California DISCLOSE Act gives voters needed information in a form that they can understand--no more political gobbledygook covering up who is behind political ads."

The California DISCLOSE Act requires the largest funder of political ads to be clearly and unambiguously identified, on the ads themselves, so voters know who is actually paying for them. Political advertising is more and more often paid for by corporations and wealthy individuals, often hiding behind deceptively named organizations. According to FollowtheMoney.org, over $235 million was spent on California ballot measures in 2010 alone, most by corporations hiding behind committees with misleading names.   A recent study by the New York City Public Advocate showed that anonymous spending groups are significantly more likely to fund negative advertisements.

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"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.   "The League of Women Voters of California's endorsement is a testament to how 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, the California DISCLOSE Act 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."

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There is overwhelming bipartisan support of legislation requiring greater disclosure in political ads. 91% of Democrats, 91% of Independents, and 87% of Republicans favored legislation requiring ads to say which corporations paid for them, in a national poll done by Hart Research in June 2010.

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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 http://www.CAclean.org.

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Trent Lange is President of the California Clean Money Campaign, whose vision is achieving an open and accountable government that is responsive to the needs of all Californians. We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to (more...)
 

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