National Coalition Launches Petition to Pass the Text Message and Petition DISCLOSE Acts

*  14 state and national good government and activist organizations start major online campaign for AB 201 and SB 47 to close loopholes for secret money in politics

By Press Release
California Clean Money Campaign, September 6th, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA -- A major coalition of state and national good government and activist organizations launched a petition today to help pass two bills to stop Dark Money: AB 201, the Text Message DISCLOSE Act (Cervantes-Mullin) and SB 47, the Petition DISCLOSE Act.

Millions of emails will be sent to good government and progressive members of coalition partners across California and the nation telling them about AB 201 and SB 47 asking them to sign the petition to email their legislators and follow up with calls and social media urging California legislators to pass it.

"As the coalition petition for AB 201 says, it's wrong for any kind of political ad to hide who pays for it," said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign, sponsor of AB 201 and SB 47. "This broad coalition of many of the largest good government and activist organizations in the country will show California's legislators that the nation is watching whether they'll stand up for the voters instead of secret money by passing AB 201 and SB 47."

The coalition petition includes California Clean Money Action Fund, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Climate Hawks Vote, Common Cause, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Fight for Reform, Money Out Voters In, People Demanding Action, People for the American Way, Progressive Democrats of America - CA, RootsAction, Stand With Sandra Fluke, and Watchdog.net

AB 201, authored by Assemblymembers Sabrina Cervantes and Kevin Mullin and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign, requires text messages paid for by candidates to "stand by their ad" by listing their name and the office they're running for. Texts from other committees must include the committee name or a URL to a disclosure website. Most importantly, when paid workers text about a ballot measure (or as an independent expenditure about a candidate), the texts must list their top funder like almost all other political ads in California.

SB 47, authored by Senator Ben Allen and also sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign, requires signature gatherers for an initiative to show voters their top 3 big funders before they sign to put it on the ballot. They'll have to list the funders on either the petition itself or on an "Official Top Funders" sheet they show voters before they sign.

AB 201 is on the Senate floor and SB 47 is on the Assembly floor. Both must pass the full legislature by Friday, September 13th. Despite the 28 overall state and national reform and other organizations that support AB 201, it has powerful opposition, which argues that "additional disclosure requirements in campaign text messages will infringe on the ability of committees to convey their messages to voters because mass SMS text messages are character limited to a maximum of 160 characters". But that's simply not true anymore, as anybody with a Smartphone knows. The bill holds committees harmless if disclosures are separated into multiple messages on the rare phones or carriers that can still only handle 160 characters at once.

The coalition petition, which can be seen here, will generate emails to signers' Senator urging them to vote "Yes" on AB 201 and to their Assemblymember urging them to vote "Yes" on SB 47.

DISCLOSE is an acronym for Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections.


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The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization that has been dedicated to educating the public about the need to lessen the unfair influence of Big Money on election campaigns since 2001. For further information, visit www.CAclean.org.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

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