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Tag Archive: Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act

Another Victim of the Shutdown: Senate Campaign Finance Disclosure

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Senate E-Filing At Its FinestCongress has failed to keep the government running for more than a week, and even though life on the campaign fundraising circuit has slowed somewhat, the government shutdown won’t stop members of Congress from asking for—and receiving—campaign contributions. The unseemliness of elected officials dialing for dollars from fat cat contributors while 800,000 federal workers are shut out of their jobs is bad enough. But, as a twisted result of the government shutdown, Senate candidates will get a pass on filing their disclosure reports on time and the public will be completely in the dark as to who is funding their campaigns.

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OpenGov Voices: Bringing Senate Campaigns into the 21st Century

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy Jon Testerof any of the information within the guest blog.

Jon Tester is the junior Senator from Montana. He and his wife, Sharla, still farm the 1,800 acres his grandparents homesteaded in 1912.

With the NSA’s secrets spilling into the news, folks around the country – including U.S. Senators – are demanding more transparency and accountability from the federal government. I fully support these calls for reform.

Transparency matters in the legislative branch, too. My fellow Senators must not neglect their own backyards. My colleagues need to hold themselves accountable to the American people and join me in lifting the veil that hides how Senators and Senate candidates report the money that funds their campaigns.

The Senate’s reporting system is stuck in the Dark Ages, and it’s hurting our democracy.

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Free the Bill: It’s time for Electronic Filing Legislation to Become Law

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Senate E-Filing At Its FinestOne week from today, House and Senate candidates will file their campaign finance reports. Even this far out from the next elections, many thousands of pages documenting many millions of dollars of campaign contributions will be filed. And those reports will contain some interesting information—which donors are trying to make their mark by giving early and often; which industries are hedging their bets by donating to both parties and which are more partisan; whether there is a spike in contributions that can be tied to a particular issue or interest; and which special interest may be using the campaign finance process to gain access or influence with particular members of Congress.

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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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