A pair of Democratic state senators announced today plans to introduce legislation aimed at requiring more disclosure of campaign contributions made by nonprofits.
Senate Bills 2 and 3, by Sens. Ted Lieu and Leland Yee, are being crafted in response to an $11 million contribution an Arizona-based nonprofit made to influence two November ballot measure campaigns in the state. The Fair Political Practices Commission's efforts to force the group to reveal the source of the funds, which were used to support Proposition 32 and oppose Proposition 30, led to transactions involving two additional nonprofits that do not have to disclose their donors. Current law requires disclosure only when the donation is given to the nonprofit for the purpose of becoming a campaign contribution.
"Laundering money through nonprofits in an attempt to avoid transparency is fundamentally undemocratic," Yee said in a statement. "Our democracy should not be bought and sold in shady backroom deals."
The bills, which are still being finalized, will also aim to increase disclosure of mass mailings and hike fines for failing to file required information about campaign contributions. The changes to the state's Political Reform Act are expected to require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, a spokesman for Yee said.