So much for transparency. Assembly Bill 1148 - more
commonly known as the California DISCLOSE Act - died in the
Assembly this week, just two votes shy of the necessary
The bill would have provided voters with more information
about the financing of political advertisements sponsored
by vague groups operating under names like "Citizens for a
Brighter Future," or "Americans for a Cleaner Planet."
Among other mandates, the bill would have required
identification of the top three contributors to groups
producing political ads.
We believe that would be agood thing; so do the majority of
California voters. According to a California Field Poll
conducted last fall, 84 percent of voters want more
information about who is funding campaigns, at least when
it comes to ballot measures.
Yet in the Assembly, only one Republican - brave soul -
voted in favor of the measure. Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian
voted against it, although he said he strongly supports
more transparency in campaign finance laws.
"For me, this bill came down to a conflict between free
speech and making campaign finance information more
accessible to voters," he said in a written statement. "I
believe that protecting free speech outweighed the need for
the additional disclosure that AB 1148 would have required.
Going forward, I have already committed to working with the
author to try and reach consensus on a compromise."
We look forward to that. But for now, we don't mind
disclosing that we have a briefcase of brickbats for each
Assembly member who voted against a reasonable measure that
would have shone a light on campaign financing.