Speaking of the Center for Responsive Politics, it’s probably worth noting that they’ve issued some useful suggestions to increase government transparency and the ease of accessing government records, all in time for Sunshine Week. Also worth noting that they provide a list of contacts at the bottom of the page so you can pass on their suggestions.
They’re all good, but here’s one that I think is tremendously important:
Politicians might call it party-building, but the contributions they make from their personal political action committees (a.k.a. leadership PACs) seem more like career-building, as they collect chits to secure a committee chairmanship or leadership position.
Leadership PACs and their sponsors aren’t required to disclose their associations. So when a committee with a name as vague as “Campaign for America’s Future” registers with the Federal Election Commission, there’s no way to know who controls it (Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch). All leadership PACs should be required to report which politician they’re associated with, saving the public and watchdog organizations from playing detectives.
If a politician is in charge of a pot of money raised from contributors, you ought to know about it. And you also ought to know who’s collecting that money. Though it’s not on the Center’s list, I’d certainly add it: Politicians should also be required to identify their fundraisers (like the Bush Rangers) who are responsible for bringing in buckets of money to the campaign.