SACRAMENTO – Republican state Senators on Monday blocked a bill that would require more disclosure of those who contribute money through nonprofit groups to affect California elections, the first legislative setback for Democrats since they lost their supermajority two weeks ago.
“It’s hypocritical,” Sen.
"I don't think this is a law that needs to be changed. One could argue the existing laws have worked," Huff said.
The bill was introduced in response to a controversy over $15 million funneled to California campaigns in 2012 by a network of nonprofits. Huff noted that the controversy became a campaign issue and resulted in fines against nonprofit groups involved.
He said he could support the bill if the urgency clause was removed and it took effect in 2015. The early effective date means donors this year "do not have time to understand that the rules of engagement have changed."
However, Correa and Democrats said the bill should affect this year’s election. “Voters must know exactly who is trying to sway their vote, without which there is no accountability,” said Senate President Pro Tem
The Senate initially approved the bill last year when Democrats had a supermajority, but it was amended in the Assembly, requiring a second vote. The supermajority was lost this month when Sen.
Huff said the Democrats could have approved the bill earlier when it had a supermajority, but were instead trying to turn it into a "partisan" issue.
Correa's bill would require an organization to provide information about its donors if it spends or contributes at least $50,000 in one year or more than $100,000 in four consecutive years. The measure also would require committees on ballot measures, if they raise at least $1 million, to maintain a public list of the top 10 contributors who gave $10,000 or more.