"Concern should drive us into action, not into a depression." -- Karen Horney

Introduction

California's newspapers come out with one article or editorial after another documenting the distortions today's campaign finance system inflicts on the political process.

Over $130 million was spent by Gov. Gray Davis and his opponents in the 2002 governor’s election. Davis himself spent nearly $78 million, the most ever spent by any politician in a non-presidential race. Candidates seeking election to other offices also raised and spent record-breaking amounts. Gov. Schwarzenegger, in his first year in office raised double ($26.6 million) what Davis had in his first year.

Good people without access to big money (or without tons of money on their own), can’t afford such huge campaign costs.

Surveys show the results: Voters are consistently dissatisfied with their choices. Polls in 2002, for example, showed that nearly 2/3 of voters were unhappy with their choices for governor.

But it's after elections are over that even bigger problems rear their ugly heads. Campaign contributors expect access for their money. And they expect results.

Not all unfair benefits campaign contributors receive make the papers. And sometimes when they do, it’s just a barely mentioned subtext of a longer article. But the costs to you are astronomical:

Hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money are wasted annually on benefits to special interests. Rules to protect Californians’ lives, health, and environment are twisted and broken.

Read here just a few of the news reports describing these problems. And watch this space -- new problems with today’s system appear in the news all the time.

Only with your help can we stop these distortions.

Get involved today!

California bill should expose 'dark money' behind campaigns

San Francisco Chronicle, Editorial, 4/28/15

"The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed their right to spend unlimited amounts, as a matter of free speech. But it did not give them a right to hide their true identity."  Full story

Editorial: Legislators take a walk rather than expand campaign disclosure

Sacramento Bee, Editorial, 9/2/14

"In the legislative session just ended, state lawmakers gave speeches and cast votes intended to show they are on the side of good and open government... But they took a collective walk on one of the most far-reaching measures of the year, Senate Bill 52."  Full story

EDITORIAL: Assembly shamefully kills donor disclosure act

Fresno Bee, Editorial, 9/2/14

"The bill, which sought to amend California's Political Reform Act, required a two-thirds vote. The Democratic-controlled Senate had approved an early version of it in May. But in the Assembly, where Democrats hold even greater majority, the bill never even came up for a vote."  Full story

Our View: Like Toto, legislators must help pull back veil of secrecy

Modesto Bee, Editorial, 8/27/14

"Senate Bill 52 already has a name – the Disclose Act – but we prefer to think of it as Toto’s law. It begins to pull aside the curtain, exposing those who would tell us what to do or what to think when it comes to ballot propositions."  Full story

Our View: Like Toto, legislators must help pull back veil of secrecy

Merced Sun-Star, Editorial, 8/27/14

"In the age of Supreme Court decisions that grant corporations the free speech rights of citizens and allows them to spend as much money as they want to influence voters, we think this law is essential. The bill should be a no-brainer, a slam-dunk, a chip shot..."  Full story

Transparency's Unlikely Foe

East Bay Express, Editorial, 8/27/14

"In addition to requiring more transparency in political campaigns, SB 52 also would prohibit shadowy groups from funneling donations through several campaigns so as to keep the original source of the money secret.."  Full story

EDITORIAL: Our Valley Assembly members must back the DISCLOSE Act

Fresno Bee, Editorial, 8/27/14

"If, in the post-Citizens United era, there is no easy way to stem the tide of unlimited money in elections, voters and their elected leaders should insist upon the sunlight that SB 52 delivers..."  Full story

Mercury News editorial: Truth in campaign advertising should be the law

San Jose Mercury News, Editorial, 8/26/14

"Supreme Court rulings leave little room to regulate the influence of big money on political campaigns except in one very important area: disclosure..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Long Beach Press Telegram, Editorial, 8/26/14

"The bill, SB 52, by San Francisco-area Democrats Mark Leno and Jerry Hill, is also known as the DISCLOSE Act. It stands for Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections. At least the clever name reflects its actual intent, unlike the names of many of the nice-sounding political-action groups we hear promoting this or that self-serving ballot measure."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Los Angeles Daily News, Editorial, 8/26/14

"For Californians who know all about the problems caused by big money’s influence on elections, finding the solution remains easier said than done..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Pasadena Star-News, Editorial, 8/26/14

"The funders named would have to be the people, organizations, corporations or labor unions that provided the original funding, rather than “front” groups..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Editorial, 8/26/14

"That last requirement would seek to prevent outrages like what happened before the 2012 California election, when an Arizona nonprofit with anonymous backing dropped $11 million into two proposition campaigns — to try to buy favor at the polls without showing their faces..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

San Bernardino Sun, Editorial, 8/26/14

"Tell your Assembly rep you want to know who’s paying for campaign ads — or know the reason why you can’t..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Editorial, 8/26/14

"But lawmakers like even less any change that makes political professionals’ jobs harder, which these campaign-ad requirements certainly would..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Whittier Daily News, Editorial, 8/26/14

"Before a scheduled Assembly vote Saturday — on the final weekend of the 2014 legislative season — California residents must tell their representatives to support it..."  Full story

California campaign cash disclosure bill needs final push: Editorial

Torrance Daily Breeze, Editorial, 8/26/14

"The bill has the backing of Southern California Democratic Assembly members Raul Bocanegra, Ian Calderon and Mike Gatto. It needs more.."  Full story

Editorial: Truth in campaign advertising should be the law

Vacaville Reporter, Editorial, 8/26/14

"It would require campaign material to include a readable (no fine print) and factual list of its three top funders instead of using generic committee names like "Citizens for Mom and Apple Pie" and a general description of the members.."  Full story

Editorial: Help voters by revealing who's paying for ads

Ventura County Star, Editorial, 8/20/14

"We have long supported reasonable steps to uncover the influence of special-interest money in politics. The Disclose Act does that, and it deserves the Assembly's full support."  Full story

Do-or-die time for campaign funding disclosure bill

San Francisco Chronicle, Editorial, 8/13/14

"It's not just a bill, it's a movement," said Senator Mark Leno. "People are concerned that their democracy - something so precious to them - is being stolen and contorted."  Full story

Disclosure of campaign-ad funders needed

San Francisco Chronicle, Editorial, 6/1/13

"SB 52, which advanced on a 28-11 vote, should help put an end to the nonsense of naming campaign committees in ways designed to intentionally confuse voters... The Assembly should move quickly to advance this important disclosure bill to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature."  Full story

EDITORIAL: End contribution secrets

Fresno Bee, Editorial, 5/25/13

"Since the infamous 2010 Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, our elections have been inundated with gobs of secret donations for spending by outside groups on political ads..."  Full story

Editorial: Bills could shed light on secret ballot money

Sacramento Bee, Editorial, 5/22/13

"This package of bills should get out of each house with a two-thirds vote by the end of this month. If there is no easy way to stem the tide of unlimited money in elections, voters and their elected leaders should insist upon greater transparency."  Full story

Our View: Bills would expose secret contributions

Merced Sun-Star, Editorial, 5/22/13

"Senate Bill 52, the California Disclose Act, would require all television, radio, print and other ads for ballot measures, independent expenditures and issue advocacy to identify the three largest donors of $10,000 or more for state races and $2,000 for local races..."  Full story

Our View: Bills would expose secret contributions

Modesto Bee, Editorial, 5/22/13

"This package of bills should get out of each house with a two-thirds vote by the end of this month. If there is no easy way to stem the tide of unlimited money in elections, voters and their elected leaders should insist upon greater transparency..."  Full story

Mercury News editorial: California DISCLOSE Act a must in the era of Citizens United

San Jose Mercury News, Editorial, 5/16/13

SB 52 authors Sen. Mark Leno and Sen. Jerry Hill are right: Voters can't do much to reduce the money in campaigns, but they have the right to know which individuals, corporations or unions it comes from.  Full story

Contra Costa Times editorial: Disclose source of money for all California political ads

Contra Costa Times, Editorial, 5/13/13

Californians should encourage state legislators to support the DISCLOSE Act, a bill by two San Francisco-area senators that would require the top three funders of political TV and radio commercials and print and online ads to be boldly identified in the ads.  Full story

Oakland Tribune editorial: Disclose source of money for all California political ads

Oakland Tribune, Editorial, 5/13/13

"SB 52 sponsors Sen. Jerry Hill and Sen. Mark Leno are right: Voters can't do much to reduce the money in campaigns, but they have the right to know which individuals, corporations or unions it comes from."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Los Angeles Daily News, Editorial, 5/9/13

"No fine print. None of the misleading names that special-interest groups like to go by. Instead, big, bold words right up front...? Californians should tell their lawmakers they approve this message: SB 52 would bring more vital transparency to state politics."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Long Beach Press Telegram, Editorial, 5/9/13

"California should lead the way on this reform. Many voters here were appalled when an Arizona nonprofit with anonymous backing dropped $11 million into two proposition campaigns. Under the DISCLOSE Act, an ad mostly paid for by money like that would have to say so."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Pasadena Star-News, Editorial, 5/9/13

"SB 52 sponsors Sen. Jerry Hill and Sen. Mark Leno are right: Voters can't do much to reduce the money in campaigns, but they have the right to know which individuals, corporations or unions it comes from..."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

San Bernardino Sun, Editorial, 5/9/13

"I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message." Voters are used to that tagline on political ads... Shouldn't the same principle apply to political ads made by people and groups who aren't officially associated with candidates and ballot measures but wield just as much influence in elections?"  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Editorial, 5/9/13

"Californians should tell their lawmakers they approve this message: SB 52 would bring more vital transparency to state politics."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Whittier Daily News, Editorial, 5/9/13

"Californians should tell their lawmakers they approve this message: SB 52 would bring more vital transparency to state politics."  Full story

Editorial: California needs bill to rid campaign ads of anonymity

Torrance Daily Breeze, Editorial, 5/9/13

"Californians should tell their lawmakers they approve this message: SB 52 would bring more vital transparency to state politics."  Full story

Yes to Measures H and L

La Opinion, Editorial, 3/2/11

"Measure H widens the campaign public financing...  Voters win when there are more political options during elections..."  Full story

Times endorsement: Yes on Measure H

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 2/18/11

"Measure H deserves a yes vote...  If there is a group whose contributions present the single biggest potential conflict for city candidates, it is the people or companies that stand to receive direct financial benefits from the decisions that those candidates would make once they reach office..."  Full story

Prop 15 lets us try a race that is won, not bought

Sacramento Bee, by Derek Cressman and Janis R. Hirohama, 5/2/10

"Personal wealth or connections to powerful interests shouldn't be a requirement to run for office. We need to change campaigns so that elections are won, not bought. Proposition 15 is a modest step in the right direction that sets us up for a giant leap in the future. Vote yes on Proposition 15."  Full story

Campaign reform: Vote yes on Prop. 15

Bakersfield Californian, Editorial, 4/25/10

"Proposition 15 frees up state and local governments to explore public funding of campaigns, and it authorizes a test case so we can see how it works. Big money has played an outsized role in politics too long....  It's worth your "yes" vote."   Full story

Prop. 15 is worthy test of 'clean money'

San Francisco Chronicle, Editorial, 4/24/10

"The beauty of Proposition 15 is that it targets an office that should be well insulated from fundraising dependence on parties and interest groups...  We recommend passage of Prop. 15."  Full story

The Times recommends a yes vote on Proposition 15

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 4/22/10

"Candidates for office have to raise so much campaign money that they become beholden to the big-spending interests that fund them rather than to the voters who elect them. But there's an alternative... The Times recommends a yes vote on Proposition 15."   Full story

Editorial: Vote Yes on Proposition 15

San Jose Mercury News, Editorial, 3/31/10

"Opponents of the initiative, primarily lobbyists who would lose business if it becomes law... have no ideas of their own, and some of their arguments against Proposition 15 are misleading... There's no doubt that this is worth trying. Vote yes on Proposition 15."  Full story

True health care reform requires campaign finance reform

California Progress Report, by Zenei Cortez, 12/7/09

"One important lesson we can learn from the year long debate on healthcare reform is that big special interest money is still corrupting our political process and our democracy... It's long past time to reclaim our electoral process so that our officials serve voters, not the biggest industry donors."  Full story

Ballot measure would help minority candidates

Long Beach Press Telegram, by Warren Furutani, 9/7/09

"Implementing the California Fair Elections Act will help ensure that the "future date" when underrepresented communities are equally represented in Sacramento will come even sooner."  Full story

Rewrite Sacramento's pay-to-play rules

San Francisco Chronicle, by Trent Lange and Richard Holober, 8/27/09

"Voters will have the chance to shake up business as usual by passing the California Fair Elections Act on the June 2010 ballot...  The California Fair Elections Act is based on the simple notion that elected officials should be accountable to the voters, not donors and special interests..."
  Full story


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