Sen. Ted Lieu’s Proposed Political Contributions Disclosures Bill Moves Forward

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Sen. Ted Lieu

A plan to strengthen the California Political Reform Act through greater disclosures of political contributions passed the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee Tuesday.

“These changes would provide voters with more information about who’s funding the increasing amount of political ads and mailers,” Lieu, D-Torrance, said about Senate Bill 2, known as the Sunshine in Campaigns Act.

Sen. Leland Yee, a joint author of the bill, added: “Californians have a right to know who is behind political advertisements. SB 2 will keep us informed and aware of the role of special interests in political campaigns.”

Specifically, SB 2 would:

  • Give enforcement agencies more tools to conduct discretionary audits for investigative purposes and strengthens penalties for failing to disclose campaign contributions – the first increase in fines and penalties in nearly 15 years.
  • Boost disclosures on all political committees by moving California to quarterly and monthly filings, aligning the state’s filing schedule with requirements for Federal elections.
  • Require candidates to “Stand by your Ad”, as required of candidates for federal office.
  • Reform slate mailers by requiring disclosures of which candidate is paid to be on the mailer by an independent expenditure, and ensure that the notice to voters is in the same languages as the mailer.

Jennifer A. Waggoner, president of the League of Women Voters of California, echoed the concerns raised by Lieu and Yee. “Voters need to know who funds campaigns so they can make informed decisions on election day,” Waggoner 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 is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of California and California Common Cause. The bill will now face review by the Senate Appropriations Committee; no date has yet been set.

For more, including a Fact Sheet on SB 2, visit Lieu’s Web site

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