This piece originally appeared in the San Jose Mercury News.
Since 2000, political players have spent more than $230 million in California on independently funded advertising, including $81 million in 2010 alone. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision two years ago, and as political expenditures break records, campaign finance reform has become an increasingly salient topic.
California Assembly Bill 1648, better known as the California Disclose Act, seeks to improve upon the last California campaign finance reform instituted by Proposition 34 (2000). The act places a proposition on the November 2014 ballot that -- if passed -- would require independent political committees running advertisements to publicly disclose the main sponsors of the committee that runs the ads in races for elected positions and ballot measures.
Current rules governing state elections allow corporations, unions, and individuals to run expensive ad campaigns behind the veil of "political committees." These committees have names like "Working Californians" and "Taxpayers for Responsible Government." Because they merely combine hackneyed political terms, the names obscure who actually funds these ad campaigns.
Though current campaign finance rules shed some light on these organizations, the light switch is both difficult to find and cumbersome to operate.
(Read the full article at Mercury News)