CA DISCLOSE Act (SB 52) Event on March 9th a Great Success

On Saturday March 9th, over 220 California DISCLOSE Act supporters from the Bay Area gathered to hear Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Senator Mark Leno, Senator Jerry Hill, Assembly Member Rich Gordon, former Palo Alto Mayor Peter Drekmeier (MC), and Trent Lange, President of California Clean Money Campaign. They all called attention to the non-partisan nature of SB 52 (Leno-Hill), the California DISCLOSE Act, and the importance in passing this legislation to save our democracy. DISCLOSE stands for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections. The DISCLOSE Act will strike back at big money's influence in California politics. Speakers highlighted the enormous impact of hidden ballot measure spending on California government and the need for better disclosure requirements.

SB 52, authored by Senators Leno and Hill, will mandate clear and prominent disclosure of who is behind political TV, radio, print, and slate mailer ads, on the ads themselves, for both ballot measures and independent expenditures for and against 

candidates. It will prevent special interests from hiding behind deceptive committee names by requiring ads to show their actual largest contributors.

The Field Poll released on October 13, 2011, of 1,001 registered California voters showed overwhelming support for the kinds of disclosure requirements in SB 52. 84% said they favored legislation to “increase the public disclosure requirements of initiative sponsors to more clearly identify who are its major funders”. Support was across the board, including 78% of Republicans, 86% of Democrats, and 88% of Independents.

Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign, the sponsor of SB 52, described how the California DISCLOSE act works and outlined the statewide campaign to pass the bill. Over 200 supporters of better disclosure on political ads cheered SB 52 authors Senators Mark Leno and Jerry Hill and other speakers. SB 52, the California DISCLOSE Act, would allow voters to see who is really paying for political ads, on the ads themselves.

“Our election process has been hijacked,” according to Senator Mark Leno. “The DISCLOSE Act brings transparency and accountability.” Congresswoman Anna Eshoo stated: “We are supposed to have government by the many, not by the money.” She emphasized that: “We need to restore faith in our democracy.”

Attendees were enthusiastic to put it mildly and they enjoyed wine, cheese, and Fair Trade chocolate while they donated $4,000 to FINALLY, this year, pass this critical piece of legislation. 

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