Electronic Filing Finally Coming to the Senate?

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The Hill reported yesterday some great news. Sen. Russ Feingold is preparing to re-introduce the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, and unlike the past six years since it was first introduced, it appears to have a clear path to passage. (Please let it be so!)

Sunlight allies and regular readers of the blog will no doubt know about the work we and our allies have invested to pass a bill to require senators to file their quarterly campaign finance reports electronically.  This included last year’s Pass S. 223 campaign that many of you had a hand in. But a small number of senators have held it up via secret holds and poison pill amendments. However, a more robust Democratic majority and the support of upwards of 17 or so Republican senators had given the bill’s sponsors and transparency advocates heart that this might be the year we succeed in passing it. It’s expected that Feingold will re-introduce the bill in the next few weeks.

As a reminder, the legislation would require senators to match the practice of the House, which file their quarterly disclosure reports electronically and directly to the Federal Election Commission. This speeds up dramatically the time the FEC takes to post the information online. Currently, senators file paper copies of their reports with the Secretary of the Senate, who transcribes them electronically and then sends the data to the FEC.

We promised to keep watching the bill and looking for ways to promote it. And we’ll keep you updated and let you know when its sponsors re-introduce it. Let’s get this important transparency victory right away. It’s been long enough coming.

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