380,251. That is the number of pages contained in more than 5,000 campaign reports that the Secretary of the Senate's Office of Public Records scanned, processed, and sent to the FEC last year. That number emerged during testimony given by Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson to justify her budget request before the Senate Appropriations Committee's Legislative Branch Subcommittee this morning. Despite their frugal rhetoric, most Senators have refused to move past their costly, inefficient paper-based campaign finance filing system. As they try to find ways to trim budgets, they should eliminate the expensive, anachronistic, and opaque practice of filing their campaign finance reports on paper rather than electronically, as presidential and House candidates along with Political Action Committees have been doing for years.Continue reading
Today 30 organizations from across the political spectrum joined together to ask Congress to improve public access to legislative information.... View ArticleContinue reading
Policy Intern Cassandra LaRussa wrote this post. On Thursday, two internal Senate offices responsible for legislative transparency presented their fiscal... View ArticleContinue reading
Yesterday’s Legistorm report on congressional staffers-turned-lobbyists provides more support for the theory that Congress is turning over its work to... View ArticleContinue reading
This Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will markup legislation that appropriates funding for the electronic government fund. The e-gov fund... View ArticleContinue reading
(Cross-posted from the Open House Project blog.)
The Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill (reported out of committee on June 21st) provides a revealing look into the priorities that Congress sets in funding its own operations. The House and Senate pass separate appropriations bills; this page on THOMAS organizes the appropriations bills for each fiscal year in a remarkably useful manner.
While the majority side of the Senate Appropriations committee did include a brief review of their bill (as did their House counterpart), I’d like to give my impressions of the appropriations from the perspective of an advocate for public access and transparency, using the Senate report as a guide. (The Republican websites don’t feature any press releases, which isn’t surprising, given the minority’s smaller staff and budget, comparative lack of clout in controlling committee functioning, and their opportunity to add dissenting views to the report, as I discovered in reading the House report.)Continue reading