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Watchdog group wants more disclosure of ballot measure financiers

December 13, 2012 |  9:36 am

The state’s political campaign finance watchdog agency is considering new rules Thursday aimed at helping the public track who is paying to qualify ballot measures and how much is being spent independently of candidates in their support or opposition.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission meets at 10 a.m. in San Diego to consider the changes.

California has seen an explosion in the number of ballot measures proposed, often by special interests, but it is difficult to determine which campaign committees provide the funds that pay for the signature drives used to qualify measures for the ballot.

The state attorney general assigns a number to proposed initiatives that are approved for petition circulation. On Thursday, the state commission will weigh a requirement that the number be included on a public form whenever a committee spends $100,000 or more circulating petitions.

"This will link committees to ballot measures during the qualification stage, when such connections are not always disclosed publicly," wrote Zackery P. Morazzini, general counsel to the commission.

The change is supported by Phillip Ung, policy advocate for California Common Cause.

"It will help bring further clarity about who funding the early phases of ballot measure qualification," Ung said. "People want to know who is paying big money to collect voters' signatures."

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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