Bill Calls for Vote on Greater Campaign Disclosure

Monday, Aug 20, 2012  |  Updated 6:51 PM PDT
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Campaign Disclosure Bill Mulled

AP

California voters would get a chance to decide whether they favor greater disclosure about donors in campaign advertising under a bill that has passed the state Assembly.

Among other things, AB1648 would force corporations to include logos on the ads they fund and require third-party committees to disclose their donors on websites.

Political mailers would have to include asterisks next to the names of candidates and ballot initiatives that paid to be included.

Democrat Julia Brownley of Santa Monica said the changes would help to shine a light on special interests attempting to hide political spending. The measure would appear on the November ballot in 2014 if signed by the governor.

"This measure will cast a bright light on their activities," Brownley said in a statement.

The measure would appear on the November ballot in 2014 if signed by the governor.

Some Republicans said the changes would undermine the constitutional right to anonymous political speech.

"The reason this is so important is it allows unpopular groups to publish their message," said Assemblyman Don Wagner, R- Irvine. "This is the height of political speech, which we ought be protecting."

The measure was amended late in the year to require voter approval. That allowed it to pass with a simple majority vote, instead of the two-thirds that would otherwise have been required to amend the Political Reform Act of 1974.

The procedural maneuver rankled some GOP lawmakers.

"We are elected to represent our constituents, not to throw everything on the ballot," said Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point.

The bill passed 48-26 on partisan lines and moves to the Senate

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