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CEO DATELINE – California considers requiring disclosure for issue advocacy ads

July 15, 2019
By Walt Williams

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Groups seeking to sway political opinion though issue advocacy ads would be required to disclose both themselves and their funders under a proposed state law currently before California legislators, the Associated Press reported.

The measure by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin would require groups that fund issue advocacy ads—which aim to increase awareness about a topic—to run the same disclaimers as currently required in ads urging viewers to vote for or against a candidate or legislative measure, according to the news agency. The law would be the first of its kind in the nation if adopted.

Issue advocacy ads are popular with associations, which spend millions of dollars on campaigns on behalf of their industries. They are far less popular with groups seeking to curb the influence of corporate money in elections, who say the ads allow special interests to buy favor with elected leaders without any public transparency.

However, the ads are not just popular with business interests. The California Teachers Association and other labor unions oppose the bill because they say it would stifle grassroots advocacy efforts, the AP reported.