SACRAMENTO, CA -- A new effort to give voters the
information they need by requiring significantly greater
transparency in political ads was launched with the
introduction of the 2017 California DISCLOSE Act by
Assemblymembers Jimmy Gomez and Marc Levine. The 2016
version, AB 700, was endorsed by more than 300
organizations and leaders, with 106,000 Californians
signing petitions urging the legislature to pass it.
"It shouldn't be legal to mislead voters -- period,"
said Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles). "And as
I said in August, I won't rest until it's stopped. I vowed
that the California DISCLOSE Act will be back, because
voters deserve transparency in elections. Now California is
going to lead the nation to get it in political
Under AB 14, all ballot measure committees and PACs
supporting or opposing candidates will be required to
display the names of their top 3 true funders on a solid
black background on the bottom third of the screen for a
full 5 seconds in television and video ads. Each name must
be displayed on a separate line in a large clear font
without using difficult to read full capitalization.
Similar disclosure rules will exist for radio ads, print
ads, and robocalls.
Perhaps most importantly, AB 14 creates new rules for
earmarking contributions to ballot measures and independent
expenditures to identify their true funders when they try
to hide behind front groups with misleading names. No other
disclosure law in the country does as much.
AB 14 builds on the unprecedented progress achieved by the
2016 version of the California DISCLOSE Act, AB 700
(Gomez-Levine), which passed the Assembly on an
overwhelming bipartisan vote of 60-15, before falling only
one vote short on the Senate floor 5 minutes before the
midnight hour of the 2016 legislative session. AB 14 is
similar to the final version of AB 700, but with amendments
to address concerns of the Fair Political Practices
Commission and others.
"We've just gone through an election that showed we need
transparency and disclosure more than ever, which is why
I'm optimistic the California DISCLOSE Act will be
successful this year," said Senator Ben Allen (D --
Santa Monica), chair of the Senate Elections Committee and
a Principal Coauthor of AB 14.
The need for serious reform of disclosure on political ads
is skyrocketing. Over $1 billion was spent on ballot
measures alone in California in the last three elections,
according to the National Institute on Money in State
Politics. Most of it was spent by committees hiding their
true funders by using misleading names like "Stop Special
Interest Money Now" or "Californians Against the Deceptive
Rx Proposition". Nationally, Dark Money organizations and
SuperPACS spent over $1.4 billion this election.
Californians from all major political parties have
overwhelmingly stated their support for greater disclosure.
A poll by the Public Policy Institute of California in
October 2013 found 84 percent of likely California voters
favored legislation to increase public disclosure of
funding sources in initiative campaigns. Those in favor
include 80 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of Democrats
and 85 percent of Independents.
"Californians deserve to be told the truth about who is
asking for their vote," said Assemblymember Marc Levine
(D-San Rafael). "PACs and independent expenditures
result in voters getting bombarded with mail, commercials,
and advertisements. AB 14 will help inform voters on who is
truly trying to influence their vote."
"We are thrilled that Assemblymembers Gomez and Levine
are leading to pass this crucial transparency legislation
into law, joined by Principal Coauthors Senators Allen and
Hill and Assemblymember Nazarian", said Trent Lange,
President of the California Clean Money Campaign, sponsor
of AB 14. "There is a huge movement of Californians
demanding the California DISCLOSE Act because people are
tired of being deceived about who pays for political ads.
They will be with our authors every step of the
DISCLOSE is an acronym for Democracy is Strengthened by
Casting Light on Spending in Elections.
The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan
501(c)(3) organization that has been dedicated to educating
the public about the need to lessen the unfair influence of
Big Money on election campaigns since 2001. For further
information, visit www.CAclean.org.