Ban ‘money bombs'

Assembly Bill 45 is set go before the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting next week. For more information on the bill, go to Assemblyman Roger Dickinson's website at

Is it possible that California is at long last going to see meaningful, much-needed campaign-finance reform? You bet it is. Legislators have tried plenty over the years to get reform measures passed, but things always got hung up in predictable partisan squabbling. This year, with a Democratic supermajority in both chambers, chances are good that there’ll be no such problem.

Among other things, Sacramento Assemblyman Roger Dickinson’s Assembly Bill 45 would ban “money bombs”—large, last-minute, secret campaign donations—from entering the realm during elections. Lest we forget, it was just last November when an anonymous $11 million “bomb” got dropped in favor of the No on Proposition 30/Yes on Proposition 32 campaign less than a month before the election. (Note: If Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 had failed, it would have triggered $6 billion in cuts to public schools.)

We learned back then that the $11 million came from an obscure Arizona nonprofit, Americans for Responsible Leadership, and was donated to a Sacramento-based PAC. But it took a subsequent California Fair Political Practices Commission investigation and litigation to find that three different nonprofits were actually part of the funneling of this anonymous money to California. No surprise, it all stemmed from a super PAC taking orders from Karl Rove.

That’s just one example of where reform is needed. Count us among the many who will be thrilled to see A.B. 45 and similar bills finally make it through the Legislature and set into California law.