Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's time to "modernize" U.S. Senate Campaign Reports

Sunlighter --

For almost ten years now, the House of Representatives has filed their campaign contributions electronically, giving us timely information about who funds their campaigns. Yet somehow, year after year and session after session, the Senate manages to weasel out of it. And every year we try and get them to change. Let's make this the last year they get away with not filing electronically so that you can finally know who donated to a Senate campaign before you vote for the candidate.

Senator Russ Feingold just reintroduced the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, S.482, which would require senators to file their campaign finance reports electronically just like House and presidential candidates have to. And yet again, a senator has indicated his plan to offer an unnecessary and controversial amendment that will ensure the bill never gets passed. It is just plain nonsense. This bill should have been passed 10 years ago.

Can you please call your senators and tell them to co-sponsor S.482 and oppose any amendments to it? There's no time to dilly-dally about this. We need to show them that there aren't any excuses left and the only way is by letting them know we expect them to pass this bill now.

Just click here to call your senators.
The current process for campaign finance filings in the Senate is inefficient and costs the taxpayers $250,000 per year. While that may not be a lot of money, it is money that is being spent unnecessarily. The process goes like this: the candidate hires someone to enter data about his or her campaign finances into a computer. The candidate prints out and delivers it to the Secretary of the Senate, which then makes the paper available to the FEC, which then pays approximately a quarter of a million dollars annually to enter the identical data points into a computer. Only after the FEC inputs the information into its computer databases can it be publicly viewed online.

Still reading? That process is pretty tedious and, unfortunately, the voter is the loser in this process. It can take three months for all of the information to become available online - and by that time - Election Day might have already passed. It's 2009 and it's time for our senators to disclose this information online.

S. 482 is straightforward, efficient and it saves you money. Help us make calls today:

Thanks for everything that you do,
Ellen MillerExecutive Director, Sunlight Foundation

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