© 1996 Los Angeles Times
Friday, May 31, 1996 · Editorial

What's to Hide, Sacramento?

The state Assembly has a chance today to prove to Californians that its members have nothing to hide.

Assemblywoman Jackie Speier of Bulingame will try to resurrect her modest but compelling bill that would require all candidates for statewide office to electronically file campaign finance statements -- which report contributions and expenses -- on the state of California's home page on the computer Internet so they can be viewed free by the voting public . Currently, candidates are required to file these statements on paper, in effect, restricting the public's access. AB 2546 would vastly expand Californians' ability to view this information, and at minimal state expense. Its availability during the campaign would help voters decide which candidates to support on election day. That's how it should be.

While there has been no public opposition to the measure, there is clearly much fear by lawmakers in revealing their campaign contributors and expenses. The evidence? Though supported by Speier, a Democrat, and Secretary of State Bill Jones, a Republican, the legislation was easily defeated last week in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Speier will try to bring her bill up today in the full Assembly. She needs 54 votes to override the committee vote and call a separate floor vote. This legislation ought to have the votes of all 80 members. Of those who sit on their hands during the roll call, Californians should ask, "What do you have to hide?"

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