On Saturday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California DISCLOSE Act, AB249, into law. We posted a detailed analysis of the law when it passed the legislature, but the key points bear repeating as it will be of interest to anyone who gives or spends money in California elections.
The law requires that some form of “paid for by” statement appear on almost every advertisement. It also requires that ballot measure ads and some outside candidate advertising carry prominent disclosures of the sponsor’s top funders. Finally, the law alters the rules for “earmarked” contributions, with the goal of disclosing the real source of a group’s funds. More controversially, it also allows undisclosed earmarks for certain small contributions of less than $500 per year.
The new law takes effect on January 1, 2018, in time for the state’s 2018 gubernatorial and legislative elections and ballot measure campaigns. Any person or organization planning to contribute to, or place advertisements in, California elections moving forward should carefully consider the changes in the law, and think about consulting with counsel on how those changes might impact their activity.