Hey big political spenders! Do you have something to say? Fine. We are all for freedom of speech. Just tell us who is speaking. That is, stand by your political ad. This means you: Republicans, Democrats, Greens, everyone. Be proud enough of your message to affix your face or your name to it. How could you possibly object to that?
People or entities publishing messages that accurately reflect the facts or constructively promote their position should not object to disclosing that they paid for a supporting advertisement. Even ads opposing an inititiative or candidate can be crafted to withstand the test of accuracy and civility. Or, advertise using trash talk if you prefer. Just tell us whose money is doing the trash talking.
The federal DISCLOSE Act, stalled in our generally useless Congress, would require that ads paid for by persons or entities contributing more than $50,000 to declare their support. The top funder (contributions by employees or members of a group are aggregated) would show his or her face and name. The next top five funders would be listed. All information would be readily accessible to the public. The law would apply to the Koch brothers and to Bill & Melinda Gates. And to you and me, if we happened to have big bucks to spend in support of a campaign finance reform initiative. DISCLOSE is nonpartisan in application, as it should be.
Closer to home, in light of the behavior of those people in Congress, California Assemblyperson Julia Brownley, representing north Los Angeles County, is driving the California DISCLOSE Act in the California legislature. AB1148 is patterned after the federal legislation. While the California legislature has its problems, with citizen prodding, we may be able to lead the way for the nation. The California League of Women Voters has endorsed the California DISCLOSE legislation.
There is work to be done. Our state legislators need to hear from us, to know this is something they really ought to want to pass. Failing their action (being realistic), we voters can do what we love to do: put DISCLOSE on the ballot and rally the support. Volunteers are active now in San Francisco and other parts of California, obtaining signatures to petition our state legislators to act. We will continue petitioning for a ballot measure, if needed.
Say yes to the simple act of requiring big political spenders to declare themselves. Read more here. Why not bookmark the site as a favorite in order to stay current (and volunteer!).
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