The Federal Election Commission (FEC) recently released their 2009 legislative priorities and right at the top of their list is the electronic filing of Senate campaign finance reports. We’ve been pushing to pass the bill in support of electronic filing, S. 482, and you can help by calling your senators and asking them to cosponsor the bill. (Go here.)
Since the FEC is the entity that has to deal with the current, paper filing of reports, let’s listen to their complaint about the process:
Data from electronically filed reports is received, processed and disseminated more easily and efficiently, resulting in better use of resources. In fact, the Commission estimates at least $250,000 per year in costs directly attributable to current Senate filing procedures would be saved by requiring electronic filing. Reports that are filed electronically are normally available, and may be downloaded, within minutes. In contrast, the time between the receipt of a report filed through the paper filing system and its appearance on the Commission’s web site is 48 hours. Moreover, a Senate campaign filing often consists of thousands of pages, and data from the filings themselves take up to 30 days to be integrated into the Commission’s searchable databases. If such reports were electronically filed, the data could be integrated within a few days.