California Secretary of State
FINANCING CALIFORNIA'S
STATEWIDE BALLOT MEASURES:
1996 PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTIONS


This report by the Secretary of State summarizes campaign financing activity to qualify, support and oppose all of California's statewide measures on the March 26, 1996 primary election ballot and the November 5, 1996 general election ballot - Propositions 192 through 218. The Preface & Summary provides an explanation and summary of the report. The first section of the report, Proposition Summaries, provides an overview of grand total receipts and expenditures to support and oppose each measure. The second section of the report, Single Proposition Committees, identifies those campaign committees that were primarily formed to raise and spend funds to support or oppose one specific measure. The third and final section of the report, Multiple Proposition Committees , identifies those campaign committees that raised or spent funds in connection with multiple measures.

 

 
Report
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The report shows that campaign contributions totaling $141,274,345 were raised to qualify, support and oppose all 27 measures on the primary and general election ballots. Unfortunately, the Political Reform Act failed to provide voters and the general public with satisfactory information about how this $141 million was apportioned among different propositions. Consequently, it was impossible to determine how much money was raised and spent in connection with a majority of the propositions. Also, the disclosure law failed to produce satisfactory information about the identities of contributors who supported or opposed specific propositions.


Graph of History of Total Campaign Costs Figure 1

portrays the seriousness of the Political Reform Act's failure to inform the electorate about the financing of ballot measure campaigns in 1996. Of the $141 million in total contributions raised in connection with all 27 measures, Figure 1 shows that $93 million (66% of the total) cannot be correlated with any specific measure. In other words, the sources of two-thirds of all the money raised in connection with 1996 propositions cannot be linked with the specific measure that the contributor either supported or opposed.


The Preface & Summary explains the nature and extent of the problems associated with financing the 1996 propositions. The heart of these problems was the fact that complex, multiple-measure activities of several large campaign committees made it impossible to determine exactly (or even approximately) what these committees were doing in connection with different measures. This fact is portrayed in Figures 2 and 3.

Graph of History of Total Campaign Costs Figure 2

is an example of the typical method of financing proposition campaigns before 1996 (beginning in 1922 when campaign disclosure was first required for propositions). The vast majority of campaign contributions were given to committees formed to support or oppose a single measure. Consequently, the original contributor (represented by the green $ in the figure) could be easily correlated with the measure that the contributor supported or opposed. This fact is represented in Figure 2 by the continuation of the green arrow from the contributor, through the committee, and connecting to the ballot measure that the contributor supported or opposed.


Graph of History of Total Campaign Costs Figure 3

represents the dominant method of financing propositions in 1996. Numerous committees raised and spent huge sums in connection with multiple measures. Because many of these committees were not required to allocate their expenditures among the different measures being supported or opposed, it was impossible to know how much was being spent in connection with individual measures. Also, it was impossible to correlate specific contributors with specific measures that the contributor supported or opposed. This fact is represented in Figure 3 by the change in the color of the green arrow from the contributor to the committee. The arrow becomes red when the committee spends money on a proposition, indicating that the link between a contributor and a proposition has been broken.


Secretary of State Bill Jones has sponsored legislation in response to the failure of campaign disclosure in 1996. This legislation - AB 1336, authored by Assemblyman Edward Vincent, Chairman of the Assembly Elections and Reapportionment Committee - is designed to give the public the ability to determine how much money is raised and spent to support and oppose each ballot measure, and to enhance the disclosure of the sources of campaign contributions to support and oppose each measure.

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