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Hullabaloo


Friday, February 21, 2014

 
Some good news against dark money in California

by David Atkins

We're not perfect here in California, but we do occasionally demonstrate what can be done when the economic royalists don't have the power to block legislation:

SACRAMENTO-The Assembly approved a measure Thursday that would ramp up disclosure requirements for nonprofit groups and other organizations that spend money in California campaigns, a response to a infamous multimillion-dollar anonymous donation in 2012.

The measure, by Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) would establish thresholds under which organizations would have to disclose their donors, such as when an organization receives $1,000 or more from donors for the purpose of making expenditures or contributions.

The bill would also require the Fair Political Practice Commission to post on their website lists of the top contributors to committees that raise $1 million or more to weigh in on ballot measures.
The proposal is part of a slate of campaign finance bills that were introduced after an $11-million donation by an Arizona nonprofit group made headlines in 2012. The money was sent to a California committee working to combat Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposal and support an initiative that would weaken labor unions' political power.
An FPPC investigation found that by the use of nonprofit groups as a conduit illegally obscured the origin of the donation.
Republicans are whining that the measure will chill 1st Amendment rights. No joke. I suppose that when you start with the premise that all money is speech and that anonymous speech is protected in elections, one could arrive at the insane position that it's OK to spend anonymous billions of dollars in elections.

But the most important lesson here is how important it is to disempower Republicans. California Democrats have a very slim hold on a 2/3 supermajority in the state legislature. This bill required 2/3 supermajority to pass the Assembly:

Democrats flexed their supermajority muscle to pass the bill, SB 27, which required a two-thirds margin, 54 votes, to pass. All 55 Democrats voted aye.
That 2/3 supermajority is in danger of falling away this year if grassroots progressive activists don't pound the pavement registering voters and bringing Democrats out to the polls. Here in Ventura County, AD44 is the top pickup opportunity for Democrats in the state, a pickup we'll need if we lose any of our embattled Democrats elsewhere in the state. That's why our county Democratic central committee is working to register 10,000 new Democrats and organize a massive field effort to bring Democrats out to the polls.

These things really matter.


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