FEC Data Guy and Senate Electronic Filing

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ComputerWorld interviewed James Allen, the IT manager at the Federal Election Commission (FEC), a month ago and reposted it yesterday. One line in the interview really stood out to me:

We have a T1 line to the Senate so they can file their reports securely and quickly.

After the data has been cleared by our analysts — and we have a 48-hour turnaround time — we post it on the public Web site.

Emphasis added. The Senate does not require the electronic filing of campaign finance reports and most reports, including ours, show that the lack of electronic filing causes gaps in disclosure. Since every office uses the software necessary to file electronically (the last office to use noncompliant software was that of retired Sen. Paul Sarbanes) and the Senate maintains a T1 line directly connected to the FEC, how many Senate offices actually file electronically?

Voluntary filing is allowed, even encouraged. FEC rules also state that, “Once a committee begins to file its reports electronically, on a voluntary basis, it must continue to file electronically for the remainder of the calendar year unless the Commission determines that extraordinary and unforeseeable circumstances make continued electronic filing impractical.”

You can read the rest of the interview here.

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