FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Thursday, September 11, 1997
Contact: Beth Miller, Alfie Charles (916)653-6575


A Major Priority of Secretary Jones, SB 49 (Karnette) Would Give the
Public Free & Immediate Access to Political Contribution Data Over the Internet

SACRAMENTO --- "The voters of California are one step closer to having instant Internet access to political contribution data," said Secretary of State Bill Jones after the legislature sent Senate Bill 49
(Karnette) to the Governor today.

"This reform is long overdue. We receive and file more than 500,000 pieces of paper disclosing contribution data every election year, but the public has never had easy access to the information," said Jones. "The time has come for voters from Yreka to San Diego to have instant access to campaign contribution data from the comfort of their homes. No longer will voters need to book a flight to Sacramento to research campaign contributions accepted by the candidates who seek to represent them.

"Full and immediate disclosure of campaign contributions is the best type of campaign reform we can have," said Jones. "Voters deserve to know who is giving money to whom before they cast their ballots on election day.

"This idea is not new. Other states and local governments have already created similar projects. It's time for California, the home of Silicon Valley, to use available technology to help us achieve full disclosure of campaign finances. I urge the Governor to sign the bill as soon as possible," said Jones.

Secretary Jones has made the development and implementation of electronic filing and Internet posting of campaign reports a major goal and priority of his administration. Jones directed his office to develop a Task Force on the feasibility of the concept and issued a report to the legislature in 1995. When the legislature stalled in passing the bill last year, effectively delaying implementation of the project beyond the 1998 election cycle, Jones went forward with the development of a project that will allow candidates to voluntarily file their campaign reports in electronic format so the Secretary of State can post the information on the World Wide Web. The voluntary project will enable voters to access campaign contribution data over the Internet in time for the 1998 elections. If the governor signs SB 49, a mandatory electronic filing and reporting system will be established for the elections in 2000 and beyond.