If Senators Can’t Get a Vote on Electronic Filing, they should File Electronically Anyway


Come Christmas Eve, when the Senate is likely to wrap up its work for the year, one piece of legislation they will have failed to enact is a bill to mandate that Senators file their campaign finance reports electronically. Majority Leader Reid has neither found a way around Republican obstruction of the noncontroversial measure, nor has he committed to holding a vote to defeat a promised Republican poison pill amendment and once and for all complete work on the measure. By failing to get this bill enacted this year, it is almost certain that there will be no mandatory electronic filing system in place for the 2010 elections.

But even without a mandate, Senate candidates can assure their campaign finance information is online, in real time, by simply voluntarily filing their campaign finance reports electronically with the FEC. Unfortunately, of sitting Senators, only Senators Feingold, Feinstein and Wicker have taken this simple step to make their campaign finance reports available to the public as soon as they are filed. As Senator Reid is up for re-election in 2010, we strongly urge him to demonstrate his commitment to public access to campaign finance information and file his reports electronically.  Hopefully, others will follow.

We’ll keep working to get an electronic filing bill passed by urging Republicans to stop needlessly blocking the bill and, if that fails, convincing the Democrats to make this bill a priority and hold a vote. Until that happens, we’d like to see every candidate running for Senate in 2010 to pledge to make his or her campaign finance reports transparent.