Which Senators Have Abandoned Electronic Disclosure of their Campaign Funders?

In the 111th Congress, Senator Russ Feingold introduced S. 482, a bill to require senators to file campaign finance reports electronically, and to be received promptly by the Federal Election Commission.

That sounds technical and small, but it’s actually a pretty big deal because of the way things run now. A large number of Senators exploit a special exemption in order to file their campaign finance reports with the Senate on paper. The Senate, being a slow institution, takes its time to send paper reports over to the FEC, and then the FEC has to type in the information on the paper reports all over again. Practically speaking, this procedure delays the processing of campaign contribution reports until after an election is over, making the discovery of unsavory campaign expenditures by reporters and citizens more difficult. Feingold’s bill would have done away with that, requiring quick reporting and disclosure of campaign contributions to members of the Senate. It would have increased efficiency within the government, increased transparency of information to reporters, and increased the accountability of Senators to American citizens.

Needless to say, it did not pass.

Russ Feingold lost his Senate re-election bid in 2010, which means that he can’t re-introduce that legislation in the 112th Congress of 2011-2012. Senator Jon Tester has picked up the torch, sponsoring S. 219, a bill that would also shift the Senate to prompt electronic disclosure of campaign contributions with the FEC. But Tester’s bill doesn’t have as much support (with 22 cosponsors) as Feingold’s bill did (with 42 cosponsors).

The following are members of the Senate who supported electronic disclosure in the 111th Congress but don’t support electronic disclosure in the 112th Congress:

Daniel Akaka (D)
Lamar Alexander (R)
Jeff Bingaman (D)
Barbara Boxer (D)
Saxby Chambliss (R)
John Cornyn (R)
Kay Hagan (D)
John Kerry (D)
Amy Klobuchar (D)
Joseph Lieberman (I)
John McCain (R)
Ben Nelson (D)
Jack Reed (D)
Harry Reid (D)
Olympia Snowe (R)
Ron Wyden (D)

From year to year in a body of 100 people, that’s a significant erosion of support.

One Comment

on “Which Senators Have Abandoned Electronic Disclosure of their Campaign Funders?
One Comment on “Which Senators Have Abandoned Electronic Disclosure of their Campaign Funders?
  1. Unless the law requires it many will exploit the intent of anything that could be called transparency of their money sources. It’s a waste of time unless it’s required by law. This is the kind of people we have in Congress.

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