Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Oct. 8
Bill Calls for Increased Disclosure on Political Advertising
California lawmakers are considering a proposal known as Assembly Bill 1148 that would, among other things, require the three largest sponsors of political advertising in print, radio, and television to be identified in the ads themselves.
Supporters of the bill say it would also require ads to provide web addresses that would give additional disclosure, including a listing of major sources of original funding, even if the money is first filtered through a third-party group or committee; for example, the “Coalition of Energy Users.” In 2010, the group, primarily funded by the oil company Valero, failed in its effort to pass Proposition 23, the “California Jobs Initiative,” which sought to block enforcement of AB 32, a measure to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
Rules would apply uniformly to corporations, unions, and individuals funding political advertisement. Candidates would also be required to appear and say that they “approve this message,” in the same style required in federal campaigns.
A poll of likely voters conducted in October 2011 shows that 84% of Californians — including 88% of independents, 86% of Democrats, and 78% of Republicans — are in favor of “increas[ing] the public disclosure requirements of initiative sponsors to more clearly identify who are its major funders.”
The state assembly is expected to vote on the bill later today.
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