The California DISCLOSE Act - DISCLOSE 2012 Campaign
The California DISCLOSE Act would shine a light on the major funders of all political ads in California, for and against candidates and propositions, by campaigns and outside groups (independent expenditures). In the aftermath of the Citizen's United Supreme Court ruling, corporations and billionaires can now funnel anonymous donations of unlimited amounts of money into political campaigns - we need to strengthen our disclosure laws so the voters know the truth about who's behind the ads.
Ruby Reid and Jay Matthew founded DISCLOSE 2012 when they identified a clear and growing demand to bring the CA DISCLOSE Act to the ballot in 2012. Currently the legislative version (AB 1148) of the DISCLOSE Act is slated to be picked apart by legislators: it will undoubtedly lose its power through this process. This crucial legislation should represent the will of the people, not certain legislators who are bankrolled by big-money interests. While working to pass the bill through the legislature, Ruby and Jay observed resounding support from volunteers, grassroots leaders and nearly everyone they encountered, except the legislators whose OWN campaigns would be impacted by the new disclosure laws. The time is now to offer the people of California an opportunity to usher in a new era of honesty in political ads.
These principles form the foundation for the ballot language and will not be sacrificed or changed in the final version:
1. HONEST AND CLEAR: The DISCLOSE Act promotes honest disclosure about the funding for political advertisements. The top funders of all political ads will be disclosed in legible font on the ads themselves. Advertisers are prohibited from falsely representing themselves as another political party, organization or group. (i.e. claiming to represent the "Democratic Party" or "Sierra Club" if they do not).
2. COMPREHENSIVE: The DISCLOSE Act applies to all political advertising in California, including ads for and against candidates and propositions, by campaigns and independent expenditures. It applies to advertisements disseminated via any means, including online, radio, television, email, direct mail, slate mailers, etc.
3. "STAND BY YOUR AD": The chief representative (i.e. the CEO, President, Chair, etc) of the top funder of television, video, radio, and online ads is required to appear in the ad and say they paid for the ad and approve of it. This would be similar to the way federal candidates currently have to “Stand by Their Ad.”
4. LEGIBLE AND/OR AUDIBLE: Written disclosure statements must meet a minimum standard for readability (i.e. black text with a white background, legible font size and style, cannot use all capital letters). Spoken disclosure statements must be audible, clear and reasonably-paced (i.e. no "fast-talkers" or "speed readers"). Visually-based advertisements (like online videos, television ads and pictorial mailers) must dedicate 25% of the visual field to the disclosure statement and conform to the above requirements for readability.
5. SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: All political advertisements must include a website that provides full information about all of the funding sources.
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