Update from the League of Women Voters:
Bill by Senators Lieu and Yee Seeks to Shine Light into Campaign FinancingIncreased campaign finance transparency sought
Sacramento, February 27, 2013 — Senators Ted W. Lieu of Torrance and Leland Yee of San Francisco/San Mateo today announced language to Senate Bill 2 – part of their two-bill package to strengthen the California Political Reform Act.
“These changes would provide voters with more information about who’s funding the increasing amount of political ads and mailers,” Lieu said about SBs 2 and 3, known as the Sunshine in Campaigns Act.
Added Yee: “Californians should know who is truly behind the political ads attempting to influence their vote. SB 2 will help stop unscrupulous campaigning and provide the disclosure that voters deserve.”
Specifically, SB 2 would:
- Require candidates to “stand by your ad” and verbally approve each candidate-funded broadcast advertisement. This reform seeks to increase accountability for ads and allow voters to better identify candidate ads from independent ads.
- Require the top four funders of a ballot measure or independent expenditure committee to be disclosed in all broadcast and print advertisements.
- Increase the number of campaign disclosures and improve the timeliness of information by enacting quarterly and monthly filing requirements.
- Improve disclosures of slate mailers to require notices to voters to be in the same language as the mailer and provide more disclosures of who’s paying for the mailers.
- Increase penalties for failing to disclose campaign contributions.
Phillip Ung, Policy Advocate for California Common Cause, praised the measures. “The Sunshine in Campaigns Act will enact the strongest and most sweeping reforms to campaign finance disclosure since voters approved the Political Reform Act back in 1974,” said Ung. “There is no better time than now to shine a light on the influence of money in politics. Approving this legislation will solidify California as the leader in campaign finance disclosure and sets a high standard for other states and Congress to follow.”
Jennifer A. Waggoner, president of the League of Women Voters of California, echoed the concerns raised by Lieu, Yee and Ung. “Voters need to know who funds campaigns so they can make informed decisions on Election Day,” said. “SB 2 strengthens our disclosure laws and calls for stricter enforcement for those who flout those laws. The League of Women Voters strongly believes Californians deserve all the information they can get before they vote. Tell us where the money is coming from and let the voters decide.”
SB 2 and SB 3 are expected to receive their first policy reviews by the Senate Elections Committee in April 2013.