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Initiative Would Overhaul California Campaign Finance System

California Secretary of State's website

The proposed initiative would require the replacement of California's existing system used to report campaign finance and lobbying activity that many critics call outdated and difficult to use.

California Secretary of State's website

Critics of California’s current campaign finance system will submit a ballot initiative Wednesday that they say would offer a much-needed overhaul. They’re hoping to qualify it for the November 2016 ballot.

The initiative would add the right to campaign finance disclosure to the California constitution – a direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. It would also tighten political donor disclosure rules, cap gifts to lawmakers at 200 dollars, and require anyone paid to help secure government contracts to register as a lobbyist.

“The overarching goal is to make sure that people know who’s funding campaign and governmental activity,“ says Gary Winuk, the former head of enforcement for the agency that regulates campaign finance in California. “Right now, I think, there’s frustration and a lot of movement of money that doesn’t get disclosed to the public.”

The initiative’s proponent is a Silicon Valley engineer who’s promised to spend the millions of dollars necessary to gather voter signatures.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio