Political Ad Transparency Bill Clears the Assembly

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Feb 1, 2016 (SACRAMENTO) AB 700, sponsored by assembly member Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign, has cleared the Assembly and is on the way to the State Senate, This bill, if enacted into law, will bring transparency to political adds in the state.

“Voters deserve transparency in our electoral process,” said assembly member Jimmy Gomez. “Today’s vote moves us forward in the fight to undo the influence of unlimited money in our elections created by the Citizens United decision. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to stand with me and the California Clean Money Campaign and deliver this bill to Governor Brown.”

This was a bipartisan bill, which passed 60-15 with every Democrat voting for it, and 9 republicans voting for it. What is driving this Bill? “The explosion of unaccountable big-money campaigns is the root cause of voter disgust and disenfranchisement with the elections process. Outside groups spent more than $640 million on state ballot measures in 2012 and 2014,” said assembly member Marc Levine, joint author of AB 700. “A core principle in our elections process is that the democracy works best when the public is fully informed. When millions are being spent on either side of a ballot measure, the public has a right to know who is trying to influence their vote.”

Under this bill all Political Action Committees, ballot measure committees and those supporting candidates, or opposing them, will have to display the top three donors in a black space for five seconds, covering half the screen. They have to be in clear to read fonts as well, and these are similar rules to robo calls, print and radio adds.

Trent Lange, President of the clean money campaign, which is also sponsoring this bill, said: “With this landmark, first in the nation bill, we’ve never been closer, anywhere in the country, to shining a light on Dark Money in all its forms by making it illegal for voters to be misled about who is truly paying for political ads. Every Californian who cares about the integrity and honesty of our electoral process owes assembly member Gomez a huge ‘thank you’ for his tenacious championing of this cause and this bill.”

 

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