Capitol Alert

That political ad on your TV would list its top donors under California bill

Still from Proposition 52 television advertisement during the 2016 election.
Still from Proposition 52 television advertisement during the 2016 election.

Who paid for that election commercial? The answer may be coming to a television near you.

California lawmakers on Friday sent a bill to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk that would require greater disclosure of campaign contributions from major donors and special interests in political advertisements.

Assembly Bill 249, which cleared the Assembly with a 57-13 vote, is a years-long effort to require greater disclosure by campaign committees, designed to give voters more information about who is paying for political advertisements.

“It is long overdue,” said Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-San Francisco, who authored the bill.

The committees often have long, vague names that conceal the individuals, labor unions and companies funding them. If signed by Brown, AB 249 would require them to display their top three donors over $50,000 in TV commercials and mailers, and announce their two biggest contributors in radio spots.

Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, said the bill is important to increase transparency in the political process.

“Dark money is infecting our political system,” Chiu said.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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