If there’s one main reason behind the distrust many Californians feel for government and elected officials at all levels, it may be the way special interests regularly pour millions of dollars into election campaigns while managing to hide their identities.
There was hope last year for an end to the sense of political impotence and frustration this often produces among voters. With two-thirds majorities for Democrats in both houses of the state Legislature and a governor who helped write this state’s original clean elections law, the Political Reform Act of 1975, the expectation was that a major disclosure bill would pass.
But those two-thirds majorities turned out to be ephemeral and sporadic, coming and going irregularly as politicians played musical chairs when vacancies occurred in congressional, state Senate and Assembly seats.
So the single legislative bill that could have done the most to restore trust in time for next year’s election languished. It’s not dead, having been turned into a two-year bill after it passed the Senate by an easy 28-11margin, with most Republicans voting no...