Blog — Campaign Finance Reform

July 24, 2013

Senate Rules Committee Considers FEC Nominees, Public Printer, and Campaign Finance Disclosure

By Daniel Schuman

U.S. SenateThis morning, the Senate Rules Committee will consider the nominations of two commissioners to the FEC, the nomination of the Public Printer, and S. 375, which would require Senate candidates to file disclosure reports electronically. All three nominees and the legislation are expected to advance to the full Senate.

CREW welcomed the White House’s nominations of Ann Ravel and Lee Goodman to the FEC, and we are pleased the Senate Rules Committee is moving to consider the nominees in a timely fashion.  Even if confirmed by the full Senate, the remaining FEC commissioners are serving on expired terms, and President Obama should move quickly to fill those positions.

We are also pleased that the Rules Committee will consider the nomination of Davita Vance-Cooks to serve as Public Printer, a position that oversees the Government Printing Office. GPO is responsible for more than printing documents, and needs a strong hand to push forward its mission of making government information more open and accessible.

And, at long last, the Rules Committee will consider S. 375, legislation CREW has long supported that would require Senate candidates to file their campaign financial disclosure reports electronically. The passage of the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, introduced by Sen. Tester, will save the government several hundred thousand dollars each election cycle and make public information available in a more timely fashion. With 34 cosponsors, including five republicans, the legislation finally may have the momentum to bypass anti-transparency opposition and pass the full Senate.

While this is the sum of today’s business, the committee still has much work to do. It should take up legislation to make all reports from agencies to Congress available online in a central location, an idea embodied in the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act. It should move to make legislative data available to the public in bulk, as this report describes. The committee should require widely-available CRS reports to be made available to the public. It should require Senate Expenditure Reports to be published in machine-readable formats. And the legal treatise “The Constitution Annotated” should be published online in the same format by which it is available to members of Congress.

We hope the Rules Committee will bring the same energy to these issues that it has brought to the FEC nominees, and bring them to resolution quickly.

White House Announces Two FEC Nominations

This afternoon, the White House announced two nominees to serve as commissioners on the Federal Election Commission. Read More ›

The Real Problem at the IRS

The real problem, however, is not that the IRS is overly aggressive, but that it has sat by idly while an ever-increasing number of groups blatantly violate the laws governing 501(c)(4) organizations. Read More ›

No Vote of Confidence for the FEC

Voters have become cynical about elected leaders, believing many are bought and paid for and the federal agency supposed to be regulating money in our elections is asleep at the wheel. Read More ›

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