Bring truth to political ads

By Carole Lutness, Commentary

Many people in the SCV have been calling Assembly Member Cameron Smyth's office to urge him to vote "yes" on the upcoming Disclose Act, AB 1648 (see

Republicans, Democrats, tea party folk and independents agree that we desperately need "truth in political advertising."

In a recent Field Poll, 84 percent of California voters said they favored legislation to "increase the public disclosure requirements of initiative sponsors to more clearly identify who are its major funders." That included 78 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of independents and 83 percent of tea party supporters.

AB 1648 will require full disclosure on all political advertising - print and media - for the top three funders, whether they are billionaires like the Koch Brothers or George Soros, or giant corporations like Chevron, or unions like the SEIU.

It is an "equal opportunity" bipartisan bill that plays no favorites with either side and works to give voters vital information they need in making decisions on how they should vote.

No longer will big money be allowed to hide behind PACs with names like "True Blue Americans who Love the Flag" or "Citizens for Integrity in Government."

We only need one more Republican to vote for this important game-changing bill. We are hoping that Cameron Smyth will be that final vote.

Otherwise, it will be passed with less than the two-thirds vote and will have to go on the November ballot, where the big special-interest money will attack it - just as they have attacked all of our "good government" bills that have attempted to level the playing field so that big money is not the only voice our legislators and the voters hear.

In a recent visit to Smyth's office with several other SCV Fair Elections folks, we were told by his field representative that he will not vote for the bill because it's "only going after the corporations and not unions."

Of course, this is not true.

"Let it go on the ballot in the fall, and let the people decide," his aide said. If that happens, we know big money will go after it with both guns and again manipulate and fool people as they have so many times in the past.

Contrary to what Smyth's aide said, this bill is going after big money whatever its source. Could Smyth be afraid that if he supports this bill, big money will come after him?

In that case, a little political courage would be good and show the voter he's on our side. Smyth's not running again; what does he have to lose?

Other Republicans are breaking rank and voting their conscience. Let Smyth go out like former Assemblyman Keith Richman, who stood up to big money when he knew it was the right thing to do.

The folks at California Clean Money are perfectly willing to sit down with Smyth to work out any kinks in the bill that cause him concern. So far, he hasn't been willing to work with them.

Time is running out. The bill will be coming up for a vote before the end of the month.

AB 1648 will give the voters information about who is spending money to try to persuade them to vote for or against a particular candidate or proposition. That is information we all should have a right to know.

Please call Smyth's office at 661-286-1565 and tell him you want him to be the deciding vote.

Carole Lutness is a Valencia resident and chairwoman of the SCV Fair Elections Committee.

See the article on Santa Clarita Signal website

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