On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure that would prevent nonprofit organizations from donating funds anonymously to state campaigns. Called “dark money,” the funds were targeted after a number of conservative nonprofits from Arizona donated $15 million in 2012 in a failed effort to defeat Proposition 30, which raised taxes in the state. The groups also donated funds to try to reduce the power of California’s unions.
According to the Los Angles Times, Evan Westrup, a spokesman for Brown, said:
Our democracy is tarnished when millions of dollars is funneled through a web of shadowy, out-of-state organizations to hide the identities of campaign contributors. This bill helps close this dark money loophole by ensuring Californians know who is giving and where the money trail starts.
The “dark money” bill, which was authored by Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and sponsored by the state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), forces nonprofits and other so-called multi-purpose organizations (MPOs) to disclose large donations and requires the FPPC website to list the names of the top 10 contributors.
Erin V. Peth, executive director of the FPPC, was delighted, according to the Times: “This bill goes to the heart of disclosing dark money and requiring that the true source of money spent in California elections be reported.”
Correa’s bill defines large donations as $50,000 given in one year or more than $100,000 over four consecutive years. If a group raises at least $1 million, it must reveal the top 10 donors who gave at least $10,000.