Calif. Initiative Would Block Payroll Deductions for Political Contributions

A California ballot measure that would prohibit unions from using payroll-deducted money for political purposes has collected enough signatures to appear on the November 2012 ballot, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced Tuesday evening.
December 9, 2011

A California ballot measure that would prohibit unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted money for political purposes has collected enough signatures to appear on the November 2012 ballot, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced Tuesday evening.

The measure would permit voluntary employee contributions to employer or union committees if authorized annually in writing. It would also forbid unions or corporations from contributing money directly or indirectly to political candidates or candidate-controlled committees. The state financial department estimates implementation and enforcement of the measure could cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars annually," according to a press release from Bowen's office, but those costs could be offset partly by revenue from fines.

Supporters of the measure had to collect more than 555,000 signatures for it to quality for the ballot and they passed that mark earlier this week, according to Bowen's office. The initiative was led by a group called Stop Special Interest Money Now. Its supporters include Stanford University physicist Charler Munger Jr., according to the Associated Press, and former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz.

"This initiative gets to the heart of one of the most corrosive elements in politics: campaign contributions," Shultz said in a statement in October. "For too long, special interest money has dominated our politics, muting the voice of average Californians."

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