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Becoming an Engaged Citizen: Full Disclosure

Independent Commentary, Opinion & Political Analysis by local activist & community organizer, Michael McCue

“We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." ~ President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Today we’re introducing a new feature of “Engaged Citizen.”  From time to time, when necessity calls on all good men and women to come to the aid of their country, (or state…or county…or city…) we will announce an “Engaged Citizen Action Alert.”

Our “Action Alerts” will give our readers a simple, concrete action to take that will
strengthen our democracy.  Generally, these alerts will concern actionable items that are extremely time-sensitive, thus, the term “alert.”  As citizens, we
must be ever vigilant…and to be vigilant requires us all to be on the “alert.”

Previously on this blog, we reported to our readers about the “!”
event held this past December, and we mentioned Assembly Bill 1148 (AB 1148) also known as the “Disclose Act.” 

As you know from Friday's post regarding “Occupy the Courts!” - the
Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision unleashed unlimited, anonymous corporate spending on political campaigns nationwide.  That's why your support for AB 1148, the California DISCLOSE Act is essential as an Engaged Citizen.

If passed by the State Assembly, The Disclose Act will be placed on the ballot for
our primary election coming up in June. But it must pass the Assembly first in order to so.  It has just passed the Appropriations Committee last week.

Among other things, the Disclose Act will change state election laws to require that
those Big Money/Special Interests, who are constantly gaming our democratic system with ballot propositions of questionable merit, will have to reveal themselves to the public and no longer remain anonymous. 

Take that, Clarence Thomas! 

As you know, many of our state ballot propositions are wrong-headed pieces of
nonsense that crowd our ballots and make the voting process overly complicated while stripping our governor and legislators of their power to govern.

If passed by the Assembly, the features of the Disclose Act that deserve our full
support include;

• The Act lets voters know who is really paying for political ads — on the
ads themselves.

• Political television ads will have to clearly list their three largest funders
and their logos.

• The Act applies to all kinds of political ads, including television, radio, print advertising, and websites.

You can see a video about the Disclose Act here.

The goal of DISCLOSE is to shine a light on the real money and influence in California politics, whether it’s Indian Gaming Casinos, Car Insurance Companies, Prison Guard Unions, Texas Oil Companies, the Mormon Church, or whomever has tried to manipulate our laws and bend them to their own will, and not to the will of We, the People.

Right now, our elections laws allow advertising to basically hide the funders of state
propositions in the small print at the bottom of the TV advertising.  You’ve seen those illegible, too-fast-to-read, disclaimers.  They don’t work and they keep
our voters from being truly informed.

Big Money special interests have been hiding behind names like “Stop Hidden Taxes,” “California Jobs Initiative,” “Californians Against Higher Taxes” or “Citizens for an On-Time Budget,” and those bogus organization’s names mask which special
interests are backing state propositions with big corporate bucks, or big union
bucks, or big church bucks. 

The League of Women Voters of California has long promoted campaign finance laws that ensure full disclosure of contributors to candidates and ballot measures.  The Disclose Act will fulfill that goal.

And it’s coming up for a vote on the Assembly floor very soon, depending on the Assembly schedule.  You can check the Assembly’s daily schedule here.

If ever there was a time to call your Assembly member in Sacramento…THIS IS IT!

And if ever there was a singular, incredibly simple action that any citizen could take…one that would have the greatest impact on the honesty of our state’s future elections…THIS IS IT!

For years, myself and hundreds of Californians others have worked for, and been supporters of, the California Clean Money Campaign, which is fighting to get corporate and special interest money out of our state politics.  You may consider supporting them as well.  They are the group behind AB 1148, the
Disclose Act, and their perseverance and hard work in getting this act passed
out of committee and finally brought to the Assembly floor for a vote, has been
a long and winding road…but we are nearing the end of that road...with your help.

If passed, the Disclose Act will be on our ballot this June, so that all Californians can decide if full disclosure in our elections is a good idea. 

If you're sick of misleading political ads, tell your state legislators to pass the
California DISCLOSE Act, AB 1148, to expose who's really paying for political ads, right in the ads themselves.

For more information about AB 1148, look here.  Become friends with The Disclose Act on Facebook here.

For a list of the hundreds of organizations statewide, legislators and citizens who fully support the Disclose Act, look here.

You can find out who your Assembly representative is, and their contact phone number here.

Phone calls work. 

If you want to pull back the curtain on who is really funding the propositions on our state ballot, then it’s time to flood Sacramento with your calls in support of the Disclose Act.

Pull that cell phone out of your purse or your pocket right now and call! 

Call, call, call!

Plus, you’ll get 100 bonus “Engaged Citizen/Action Alert Points” for doing so.  (Keep your own score using the honor system and we’ll total your points just after the primary.)

The Disclose Act will be worth the effort….and the real extra bonus is that you’ll feel great about making a difference and becoming an Engaged Citizen.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rob Schraff February 09, 2012 at 05:49 PM
....Pragamatic. Not to mention that, since Obama spoke these words, a little thing called Citizens United happened. So the President should just stay pure and let the Koch brothers run the country? Really? But speaking of delusional, I sincerely hope Ron Paul is still polling well in the Republican primaries, God bless his pinched little heart. This will make Romney even weaker by having to buy into some of Paul's radical views - like say, on drug legalization. (Of course, any responsible person wouldn't let Paul anywhere near the economy!)
jayres February 09, 2012 at 07:25 PM
It is pragmatic, and also the convenient option, opposed to the standing on principal when it is hard, a standard he claims to aspire to. Obama called out the supreme court justices at the state of the union, he said that a small group of millionaires shouldn't be able to control elections. He has traveled the country telling Americans that Super Pacs are a threat to democracy, but now he has embraced the very corruption he has denounced. And as a Senator, he vigorously supported public campaign finance, but when it became convenient he broke his pledge, even though McCain, also an advocate of public finance, took it. So I don't fault Obama for being pragmatic, just don't advocate principals you have no intention to adhere to. Like saying no lobbyists would work in the White House(election promise), and then upon becoming Pres granting waivers for lobbyists to be a part of the administration(broken promise). The ideals this guy espouses is a far cry from the reality of how he governs. So I say stop demonizing if you don't plan to live up to those same standards.
Rob Schraff February 09, 2012 at 07:39 PM
President Obama has announced he is going to play by the rules while, at the same time, advocating that the rules should be changed to make them more, not less, democratic, fair and transparent. Sounds pretty darn American to me.
Marcus February 09, 2012 at 07:41 PM
No matter what, this election is going to be won by the efforts and financial strength of a few wealthy men. Not by ardent left or right leaning grass roots volunteers or candidates. The rise of the Super PAC is just another example how money talks.
jayres February 09, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Rob, I think you are missing the point all together, because I agree everything you say is true, but he claims to represent a transformational administration that doesn't merely play by the the rules of "is it legal", but rather "is it right". My point is that Obama has compromised on so many of his own principals to the point that he is not transformational, by rather he is typical. And I never claimed anything he has done is un-American...in regards to this specific issue of course.

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