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State watchdog agency also rules for disclosure on campaign emails

Written by Mark Walker
3:31 p.m., Dec. 13, 2012
Updated 3:39 p.m.

SAN DIEGO — The people who pay for petition drives in support of statewide ballot measures can no longer hide their identity, thanks to a regulation adopted by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday.

Meeting in San Diego, the watchdog panel decided to require groups spending more than $100,000 for a signature drive to state on their organization papers what they’re backing.

The change comes after people trying to track ballot measures complained there was insufficient information to determine what groups were behind the efforts.

“Getting information out about who is circulating petitions is imperative,” said Commissioner Elizabeth Garrett before the requirement won unanimous approval.

In an Internet-related item, the commission will now require candidates and committees sending out mass emails to identify themselves in the missives. Current regulation only requires identification when 200 or more pieces are sent through Postal Service mail.

A glaring example of the hole in that provision came in 2010 when mass emails attacking a state attorney general candidate were signed by “Nancy Drew” and “the Hardy Boys.”

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