Politics

Bill to shed light on dark money in California advances to Gov. Brown

Sacramento capitol california governor
Sacramento capitol california governor
Photo by calwest via Flickr Creative Commons

A bill that would shed more light on who’s funding California ballot measure ads is one step from becoming law.

The Disclose Act, or AB 249, was approved by the State Assembly on Friday. Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine said it’s a victory for voters.

“Dark money is a poison to an informed democracy," Levine told his colleagues. "Our voters deserve to know who’s spending money both for and against a ballot proposition.”

The bill would require ballot measure ads to clearly and prominently list their three largest funders. An amendment, however, provides some exemptions for business and labor groups.

For that reason, several Republicans opposed the bill, including Assemblyman Matthew Harper.

“While the intentions of this bill are good, it creates a massive loophole and therefore an unfair playing field when you’re talking about membership organizations which include labor organizations," Harper said.

The bill now goes to the Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.