The California DISCLOSE Act requires ballot measure and independent expenditure advertisements to clearly and prominently show the top three funders of $50,000 or more. On TV ads, for example, the disclosures must appear on the bottom third of the screen against a solid black background, with the name of each funder displayed on a separate line in a big font. Tricks to obscure donor names are no longer allowed. There are similar clear rules for radio and print ads.
Even more importantly, on ballot measure ads, funders cannot hide their names behind front groups anymore. If you gave your money for a specific ballot campaign and your contributions make you one of the top three donors to the committee paying for the ad, the ad must show your name instead of a front group’s, no matter how many committees your money passed through.
These provisions are the first of their kind anywhere to reveal secret money where it matters most, on the ads themselves.