The day of gadget envy reckoning is upon us as Apple unveils their latest iPad and it seems only natural that the Sunlight Foundation watch this media frenzy in regards to our policy proposals. One particularly confounding (and floundering) situation is that the Senate refuses to use the internet and file their campaign finance reports electronically, though a few Senate offices nobly do.
The current process of filing goes something like this: a senator's campaign staff fills out campaign financial disclosure forms as required every quarter, submits those forms to the Secretary of the Senate who prints them out and sends it over to the Federal Election Commission. The FEC then takes this pile of paper and pays an army of data-entry folks to put those forms back into electronic format and then the FEC posts it online. We might be laughing at this scene set to Yakety Sax if it weren't costing taxpayers an estimated $430,000 every single year! This is stupid.
We tried appealing to their environmental concerns. We tried appealing to their government efficiency concerns. We tried appealing to their debt concerns. Turns out those concerns aren't so strong. Now, we appeal to their gadget envy concerns.
The iPad Proposal:
- Most recently cited cost of not filing electronically: $430,000
- Cost of a brand new 16 gb iPad with WiFi and AppleCare Warranty with taxes: $612.68
- Number of iPads that could be purchased with savings: 701
- Every Senate office gets 7 iPads and the extra goes to the Secretary of the Senate.
Maybe this will bait McConnell out from his cave of baffling obstruction?
Note: This proposal is tongue-in-cheek and we think it's much better for senators to just use their existing computers to file, like the House has been doing for years. Maybe they could put the money they would save towards funding other e-government programs?!