Transparency would have been good

* Letter to the editor

By Jason Gueltzow, Yucca Valley

In the post Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission world - where corporations are people, spending money is speech and corporations spending unlimited amounts of money to influence elections is constitutionally protected as "free speech" - I was delighted to learn California had introduced a bill to ensure transparency in campaign financing. Assembly Bill 1148, the California Disclosure Act, sought to require the top three funders of political ads in California to disclose their identity so that voters would be informed of who actually finances these measures. No longer would corporate financiers have the luxury of hiding behind deceptive and fictitious "grass-roots" organizations. Through disclosure, voters in California would be back on equal footing in the ballot booth.

The Supreme Court articulated the importance of disclosure in the Citizens United decision. They held that, "Disclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in a proper way … transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages."

Despite wide approval, 84 percent in polls across all party lines, on Jan. 31, the California Assembly failed to pass AB 1148. It fell short of the requisite two-thirds majority by just two votes. Sadly, my representative from the 65th Assembly District, Assemblyman Paul Cook, was one of the handful to vote against AB 1148.

When Congressman Jerry Lewis announced his retirement recently, I was excited to learn that one of our own, Assemblyman Cook, planned to run for his seat. But when running to replace a congressman who is consistently named as "one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress," Mr. Cook should know his voting record will be scrutinized. The road to Congress is a long one, and for me, Mr. Cook has started it on the wrong foot.

See the article on Hi Desert Start website

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