Today's Law As Amended

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AB-20 Political Reform Act of 1974: campaign contributions: The Corporate-Free Elections Act.(2021-2022)

As Amends the Law Today

 This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Corporate-Free Elections Act.”
SEC. 2.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Under current campaign financing laws, there is great potential for corporate special interests to manipulate the interests and priorities of elected officials and candidates throughout the state, such that these interests and priorities do not align with the will of their constituents or the people of California.
(b) Corporate special interests routinely account for the majority of contributions to officers and candidates for state and local offices.
(c) Corporations exist for the purpose of making profit, and thus their political activities are fundamentally in the interest of increasing said profits by giving monetary incentives for favorable policy.
(d) Each year, corporations contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to campaigns for state and local offices across California. For example, in 2020 it was found that more than $785 million was spent to influence voters on ballot measures alone, with millions more spent on individual races. Many candidates, in order to stay competitive in their races, are compelled to take money from corporations.
(e) With so many campaigns funded with corporate money, it is impossible to guarantee that the will and interests of the people of California are being represented in the state over the interests of the corporations who provide this money.
(f) In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 34, which barred lobbyists from making contributions to politicians they seek to influence within the scope of their profession. The intent of this provision according to its authors was, “To reduce the influence of large contributors with an interest in matters before state government.”
(g) As corporations have an undeniable interest in matters before the state government, as well as an incontrovertible influence as large contributors, it is evident that a ban on their direct contributions to campaigns for elective office within the state is necessary.
(h) In passing such a restriction, California would join the 22 states in the United States who already impose outright bans on corporations from directly contributing to campaigns for elective office.
(i) As defined in 11 CFR 114.2(a), national corporations are already barred from making direct contributions to candidates for federal, state, and local office.
(j) In accordance with the spirit of this policy, it is the intent of this act to bar all corporate special interests from contributing directly to candidates running for state or local elective office.
(k) In order to curb actual corruption and the appearance of corruption of our government by corporate contributions, it is incumbent upon the Legislature to prohibit direct contributions to political campaigns in the state by corporations.

SEC. 3.

 Section 85322 is added to the Government Code, to read:

 (a) Notwithstanding Section 85301, a business entity, as defined in Section 82005, shall not make a contribution to a candidate for elective office.
(b) A candidate for elective office shall not accept a contribution from a business entity, as defined in Section 82005.
SEC. 4.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
SEC. 5.
 The Legislature finds and declares that this bill furthers the purposes of the Political Reform Act of 1974 within the meaning of subdivision (a) of Section 81012 of the Government Code.