REALITY CHECK

Ballot measure: Proposition 32

Would prevent unions from using dues for political purposes.

The campaign to defeat the measure is running a 30-second radio ad in major media markets in the state. The ad is vaguely worded, designed no doubt to pique voter interest.

What's the charge?

"It's really a deceptive proposition stuffed with special exemptions for the oil companies, Wall Street and those secret campaign super PACs who want to rig the system." The ad concludes: "It's not what it seems."

Is it true?

The charge is true. The proponents of Proposition 32 call it a campaign-finance reform measure that will have an equal effect on labor and business. It does prohibit both from contributing directly to campaigns, but in fact it's aimed at reducing the power of labor unions by preventing them from collecting dues for political purposes. A loophole in the initiative allows a broad swath of limited liability companies (including oil firms) and wealthy investors to continue to spend unlimited sums of money campaigns.

-- Steven Harmon, Staff