Some people will say that Senate Bill 482, the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, which would require the Senate to electronically file their campaign disclosure forms, is not something that can capture the imagination and get people talking. However, Sunlight's efforts to get this simple, non-controversial bill passed has, in fact, stirred quite a few people into conversation.
We started Pass 482 with a bang by introducing the Twitter Lobby. There are 17 senators on Twitter and we wanted to make sure they heard about this bill and from their constituents who use Twitter. We asked people to tweet to senators "Need your support for Senate e-filing of campaign finance reports. Please cosponsor S. 482!" This novel way of using Twitter sparked some controversy. Smart People I Know thought it could be a good way for elected officials to get feedback if they handle it well. Advocacy 2.0 wonders if we will get a response from the 17 senators. A. Fine Blog has a very thoughtful response to the criticism the Tweet Lobby. By the end, we had Sen. McCaskill support electronic filing and a new cosponsor in Sen. Barbara Boxer. This didn't stop people from spreading the word that they need to see campaign disclosure forms before Election Day. Blogs from Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire and others have been asking their readers to call their senators and ask them to support S. 482.
The real appeal of this legislation is that it is such a no-brainer that it hits you on the head. Why isn't the Senate filing their campaign disclosure forms electronically? Won't this save money and time for them as well?
This bill needs to pass because it is a real concrete step towards real time transparency. Call you senator today and ask them to cosponsor S. 482 and ask your friends and neighbors to call as well. This is a noncontroversial, commonsense bill. If they can't pass a measure beneficial to them and to their constituents what can they pass?
We can get S 482 passed, together.