Last week I spent a day with the California Clean Money Campaign on a trip to the capital of California, Sacramento. I, the group’s leadership, and more than 100 volunteers were trying to get a bill through the California Assembly designated AB 1148 – the California Disclose Act.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with how political ads work these days. At the end of some mudslinging or some glory-making, in a tiny, almost unreadable font at the bottom of the screen (maybe accompanied by a super fast voice) it says that this ad was paid for by, “Americans for a Stronger America,” or Citizens for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.”
I’m sure that, like me, you’ve all wondered, “Do groups of ordinary citizens really get together and decide to do things like… make it nearly impossible to form a Community Choice Aggregation program? Really? Well, no. In this particular case, California Proposition 16, it was a big, powerful energy corporation, PG&E that funded the initiative.
In this ad, PG&E actually does appear in the, “paid for by…” fine print at the end of the ad.
But it’s buried neatly between, “Californians to Protect Our Right to Vote,” and, “A Coalition of Taxpayers, Business and Labor,” (Does any of that fool anybody?). But many ads hide their major funders completely so that all you see are the names of the ad hoc organizations that have been created simply to promote or oppose a particular legislative bill.
One of the things I like about AB 1148 is that it’s rules apply equally to everyone. Corporations, labor unions, Koch brothers, George Soros, everyone. And it is certainly not a limit to free speech. It simply requires that, if you want to put a point of view out there, you should be identified with that point of view.
But AB 1148 will also serve to ferret out those who are just plain opposed to Democracy. Those who oppose AB1148 will clearly identify themselves as plutocrats or simply as profiteers in a caustically unbalanced system. Word is that the only opposition to surface, so far, are major media outlets. Natch.
Please click here and find your California Assembly member and call, write a letter, or at least email with your support for AB 1148.
Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.
Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com