On September 29, 2016, Governor Brown signed SB No. 1349 into law, beginning a project to modernize Cal-Access, the state’s online campaign finance disclosure system. This amendment to the Political Reform Act is part of the longstanding effort to address the appearance of corruption in regards to political contributions and expenditures. The thought was that reporting requirements could be used to make campaign finance transparent to the public. This in turn would expose and deter violations, and ensure that the voters were fully informed.
The existing Cal-Access system allows the public to search by candidate, committee number, contributor, and a variety of other ways. But this system, created in 1999, is aging, unreliable, and subject to frequent slowdowns. In 2011, the system went down for most of December.
The highlights of SB No. 1349 are as follows:
- Filed data will be made available in a user-friendly, easy to understand format that is searchable online and downloadable, and can be represented in graphs and maps
- Late contribution and independent expenditure reports will be made available for viewing within 24 hours of filing.
- Public will be able to track contributions from a single large contributor.
The law requires the new system to be available by February 1, 2019, though this can be delayed to December 31, 2019. In the meantime, the Secretary of State is soliciting public feedback on the modernization project. Public hearings will be held on the following times and locations:
February 3, 2017 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Ronald Reagan Building Auditorium 300 S Spring Street Los Angeles, CA 90013
February 9, 2017 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Secretary of State Auditorium 1500 11th Street Sacramento, CA 95814
More information is available here: http://www.fppc.ca.gov/media/press-releases/2017-news-releases/advisory-feb-2017.html