Update: California DISCLOSE Act AB 1148 Falls Two Votes Short, But Sets Stage for Future Victory
The California DISCLOSE Act, which the Green Chamber participated in advocating on behalf of in December and January, has unfortunately met its end as a result of being just two votes short a two-thirds majority on the California State Assembly Floor. The Green Chamber is hopeful after hearing that the sponsors and author of this campaign, California Clean Money Campain and Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) are already looking forward towards creating the next generation of this landmark bill that would force greater transparency in public elections and thus level the playing field for all constituents, and in our case sustainable business community, to have voice heard. Please find more details in the following press release below.
Press release from the California Clean Money Campaign
SACRAMENTO – On January 31, 2012 AB 1148, the California DISCLOSE Act, fell two votes short of the two-thirds supermajority that it required for passage. But it showed bipartisan support for real disclosure, with Republican Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher of San Diego voting for it, along with every Democrat in the Assembly except Cathleen Galgiani. The final vote tally was 52-26.
“People have the right to know who is funding political campaigns and where the true support or opposition comes from. It is time to move California to the forefront in campaign disclosure,” said Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego). “It is disappointing that Sacramento failed today. It is my plan to bring this measure back.”
AB 1148, the California DISCLOSE Act, authored by Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign, would have changed the political game by completely replacing current misleading fine print disclosures in political ads with clear and prominent disclosures of their three largest funders, be they unions, corporations, or wealthy individuals.
By voting nearly unanimously for AB 1148, Assembly Democrats voted with the 84% of registered voters that last October’s California Field Poll showed support increased disclosure. It had 35 co-authors, including Assembly Speaker John Pérez, despite heavy opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce and other big business organizations representing the largest political spenders in the state.
“I am proud of my colleagues who chose to support greater disclosure of funding in political ads, and disappointed that more Republicans did not join them despite widespread support for greater transparency among voters of all political parties”, Brownley said. “The public is frustrated and fed up with wealthy donors who manipulate elections through anonymous campaign messages. Voters deserve to know clearly who is behind the ads.”
AB 1148 was endorsed by groups like the League of Women Voters of California, the California Alliance for Retired Americans, California Common Cause, California Church IMPACT, CALPIRG, the Greenlining Institute, the Green Chamber of Commerce, the Planning and Conservation League, Sierra Club California, Bob Stern, co-author of the Political Reform Act of 1974, and taxpayer advocate Ted Costa, CEO of the People’s Advocate.
Support included endorsements from both Democratic and Republican local elected officials and unanimous endorsements from the city councils of Los Angeles, San Jose, Santa Cruz, and Watsonville.
The public’s interest in real disclosure has exploded since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision said that there could be no limits on independent expenditures. Nearly 300 local organizations and leaders endorsed the California DISCLOSE Act as a way of at least making sure that voters knew who was behind those ads. Over 20,000 people signed petitions for the bill, many of whom went on to help generate over 4,000 phone calls to constituents of key Assemblymembers asking them to call for Yes votes.
“The fact that 52 Assemblymembers voted yes despite intense pressure from special interests that would rather keep the public in the dark shows the power of the grassroots support for real disclosure”, said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign, the sponsor of AB 1148. “But we’ll be back with an even stronger bill and even greater active involvement from the public for real reform.”
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.