California lawmakers seek more frequent campaign finance reporting

California lawmakers seek more frequent campaign finance reporting
State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, left, speaks on a bill, while his seat mate Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, works at his desk in January before both were suspended and charged with political corruption. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

California lawmakers approved a measure Saturday that would require the state to develop a new Internet-based campaign filing and public display system and that candidates file electronic disclosures of their campaign finances every calendar quarter, instead of the current semi-annual filing schedule.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced the bill in response to scandals including the indictments of Democratic state Sens. Ronald S. Calderon of Montebello and Leland Yee on public corruption charges.

Yee is accused of accepting campaign contributions from undercover FBI agents in exchange for official action and help in brokering a deal for guns and shoulder-fired rockets.

Lara said more frequent disclosure would allow the public to better follow who is contributing to campaigns and what elected officials are doing with their campaign money.

The new database called for by SB 1442 is estimated to cost up to $15 million and the new reporting requirements do not take effect until the system is operating.