Bouquets and Brickbats: No light shed on financing

San Luis Obispo Tribune, February 3rd, 2012

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 two-thirds majority.

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.

See the article on San Luis Obispo Tribune website

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