IN PROCESS: AB 1648 (Formerly AB 1148): CA Disclose Act
About AB 1648, California DISCLOSE Act
Let’s Change the Big Money Game in California with True Transparency
AB 1648, the California DISCLOSE Act, would fight back against unlimited hidden spending on campaigns by letting voters know who REALLY is paying for political ads — on the ads themselves. Authored by Assemblymember Julia Brownley and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign (CCMC), AB 1648 would amend the Political Reform Act of 1974.
The Green Chamber of Commerce has chosen to endorse AB 1648 because we see a very strong connection between campaign financing across our state and continual attack on developing a new economy based on transparency which would create opportunities for socially and environmentally responsible businesses as opposed to continuing to create road blocks and impediments to allowing greater competition and innovation to rise to the forefront of our business community and economy here in California as well as throughout the nation.
CA DISCLOSE Act Background: Money Controls Politics
- The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision unleashed unlimited anonymous spending on campaigns.
- Over $235 million was spent on CA ballot measures in 2010 alone, almost all of it by veiled actors hiding behind innocuous-sounding names like “Stop Hidden Taxes” or the“California Jobs Initiative”.
- Government-changing propositions are passed by hidden special interests spending millions on deceptive ads.
- Example: Prop 26 passed after $18 million in ads, stopping the state or cities from raising fees even on polluters without a 2/3 vote. Three largest funders: Chevron, the American Beverage Association, and Philip Morris.
AB 1648, CA DISCLOSE Act Provisions:
- Requires the three largest funders of political ads to be clearly identified with their names and logos — on the ads themselves, so voters know who is actually paying for them.
- Applies to all television ads, radio ads, print ads, mass mailers, and websites for or against state and local ballot measures, and to independent expenditures for and against candidates. It applies whether ads are paid for by corporations, unions, or millionaires.
- Tells voters where to find the details — Requires ads to list a website with greater disclosure and a link to the Secretary of State’s website
- Will “pierce through” hidden funders by requiring political ads to report their three largest actual contributors, no matter how many committees or groups their contributions pass through.
- Applies to slate mailers: Requires slate mailers to show when ads are paid for by independent expenditures.
- Requires candidates to appear and say they “approve this message”, just like federal candidates.
Californians are Ready for the CA DISCLOSE Act
84% of California voters said they favored legislation to “increase the public disclosure requirements of initiative sponsors to more clearly identify who are its major funders” in the October 13, 2011 Field Poll, including 86% of Democrats, 88% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans.
The CA DISCLOSE Act will change the big money game in California. Learn more
See a growing list of endorsers of AB 1648: CA Disclose Act. Click here
The Business Case for AB 1648, CA DISCLOSE Act
The Green Chamber presents below an argument for why AB 1648 is good for business in California and in terms of growing the new, green economy. We have developed this with the help of our partner organization, the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) who is running a national campaign called Business for Democracy to overturn the 2010 Citizens United Federal Court Decision which allows corporations the same rights as people and thus provides them the opportunity to contribute unlimited amounts of funding to political campaigns and elections,
The fundamentals of the argument include the following:
- We believe in the American democratic ideal of “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
- Many of the businesses that are engaged in local economic development throughout California, green business, sustainable business, socially responsible business, triple-bottom-line business, along with Main Street businesses throughout our nation, believe and are proving everyday that a new paradigm for business is possible.
- As executives, owners, and investors in socially responsible and/or sustainable businesses, we believe there are right ways and wrong ways to do business.
- We are committed to building businesses, based on the values and principles, that growth should not be pursued at any cost, nor profit without regard to people and planet.
- We seek policies like AB 1648: CA Disclose Act that will make it easier and more profitable to do business the right way, and we know that if passed AB 1648 will make it harder and less profitable to do business and influence our democratic process in California the wrong way.
- We are committed to rebuilding a new robust state economy and strongly encourage the passage of AB 1148 to level the playing field for all types of business to thrive across California in order to create new jobs and help our state continue its rich tradition of being on the cutting edge of technology, innovation, and business.