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Tag Archive: E-Filing

Groups come together in support of Senate e-filing

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A coalition of groups interested in campaign finance reform and government openness, including the Sunlight Foundation, have joined together to urge Senators to support the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act and "help ensure that citizens have the same access to campaign finance information about Senate candidates that they currently have regarding all other federal candidates, political parties, and federal PACs." Candidates for President and the House of Representatives file their campaign finance reports electronically; So do party committees and federal PACs. Only Senate candidates still do things the old fashioned way, filing their campaign finance reports on paper. The paper filings, over 380,000 pages worth last year, have to be transferred into electronic formats and posted online by the Federal Election Commission before the public is able to see what kind of money Senate candidates are raising, and who they are raising it from. This process is time consuming, expensive, and unnecessary. Luckily, the legislation introduced in the 113th Congress by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) would solve this problem and make Senate candidates more transparent and accountable to the public. The bill has been gaining momentum, garnering 34 bipartisan cosponsors since February. Unfortunately, previous versions of the bill have been blocked on a number of occasions. The bill's prospects are unclear this time around, but we are hopeful that the growing momentum for change will help push Senate candidates into the 21st century. You can read the full letter below.

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The Senate is trying to trim its budget. They can boost transparency at the same time.

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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.

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