Reminder: Your senators (probably) still file campaign reports on paper

The U.S. Capitol building. Photo credit: U.S. government

As Senate gridlock continues on major issues such as immigration, highway funding and spending bills, one bill has near-universal support, is non-controversial and would save taxpayer dollars. S. 375, the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act (SCDPA) should be able make its way out of the Senate morass, giving that body at least a little achievement to hang its hat on.

Introduced by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the SCDPA is a simple measure that would require Senate candidates file their mandatory campaign disclosure reports online with the FEC. The House does it. So do presidential candidates and PACs. And they all have for years. But the Senate has clung to an absurd and outdated system that starts with paper reports being delivered to the FEC by the Secretary of the Senate and ends with the FEC keying the campaign finance information from those reports into its databases — delaying disclosure, risking error and costing taxpayers roughly $500,000 a year.

The SCDPA has 49 co-sponsors — and no serious objection from any individual or interest group. It would ensure, during what is likely to be one of the most expensive midterm elections, that information about who is giving money to candidates is available and usable before election day, and not delayed as it is with the current system does. (And for those of you tracking campaign contributions with our Real-Time Federal Campaign Finance tracker, it would mean we would finally be able to show you data on Senate races!)

The SCDPA is being held up by, what else? Politics. And who else? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The bill has 48 cosponsors already. If two more senators sign on, it will show the McConnell there is a majority of support for the bill to become law.

The list of current co-sponsors for the SCDPA is here. If your senators are not on the list, please consider calling or emailing their office — which you can do through OpenCongress — and ask them to co-sponsor this simple measure that will strengthen disclosure.