Senate electronic filing should be a done deal — we’ll keep fighting until it is


During Transparency September, we have been highlighting bills that should be relatively non-controversial, easy fixes to make sure the public has information on how the influence industry gains access to Congress. First, we brought you the Real Time Transparency Act, which would require large campaign contributions to be disclosed within 48 hours. Then it was the Lobbying and Campaign Finance Reform Act, which among other things, would close a loophole and ensure that if you are a paid lobbyist, you register and report.

Now we bring you the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, a bill that should probably be the least controversial of all. S. 375 would simply require senators and Senate candidates to file their public campaign finance disclosure reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission, the way House candidates and presidential candidates have been filing their reports for over a decade. A version of the bill has been introduced during every congress starting in 2003 (!) yet it has been blocked repeatedly, a victim of political football.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has introduced the most recent version, which would ensure that paper Senate campaign finance reports are a thing of the past. But even with 50 bipartisan cosponsors, the bill faces an uphill battle. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, has repeatedly prevented the bill from coming to the Senate floor. We won’t be deterred—as long as McConnell continues to block the bill, we’ll continue to highlight that his intransigence results in delayed disclosure of vital, public campaign finance information, not to mention wasting $500,000 in taxpayer money annually. Eventually, we’ll win.

We’ll be addressing this and other transparency issues with Tester, the sponsor of the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, during an event tomorrow, as well as a panel of money in politics experts. RSVP here if you wish to attend.