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Increased disclosure urged for large campaign donations

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With elections looming for San Francisco mayor and supervisors in 2018, officials are considering a move toward greater disclosure for campaign contributions in excess of $10,000.

With money rolling into San Francisco supporting candidates in 2018 elections for mayor and supervisor, some city officials want the public to know where exactly more of that money is coming from.

On Tuesday, Supervisor Aaron Peskin proposed legislation that would require major donors who have contributed $10,000 or more to have to disclose the donation within 24 hours, along with all investments worth $10,000 or more in any business entity in, or doing business in, The City, including from the donor’s immediate family.

Peskin said at a press conference on Tuesday:

“This is really about the public’s right to know.”

Also, donors would need to disclose any position title, such as a director, officer, partner, trustee, employee at all business entities in The City.

In addition to the 24-hour disclosure, committees who place advertisements must reveal their top three funding sources in sponsoring the ad.

Peskin said:

“They are buying influence and the public has the right to know what that influence is.”

Supervisor Hillary Ronen, a supporter of Peskin’s proposed legislation, said it was important to pass the legislation, especially at a time where the public will choose a new mayor June, and who could serve The City for the next 10 years:

“It is time that in San Francesco we get back in becoming a city where the people decide who their elected officials are, not billionaires who buy elections.”

Former Assemblyman and state Sen. Mark Leno also supported the legislation, saying the independent expenditures are a threat to democracy and election process:

“The power of strength of one’s voice should not be dependent upon the power and strength of one’s checkbook.”

Leno, a San Francisco mayoral candidate, said the legislation would provide the public a look into who is pouring money into the elections, and allowing voters to make an inform decision.

The Ethics Commission will discuss┬áPeskin’s proposal on Friday.

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