Tester introduces legislation to bolster transparency in Senate campaigns

Senator opens another front in effort to boost government accountability using the Internet

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester, an outspoken advocate for using the Internet to boost transparency in government, today introduced legislation to require U.S. Senate campaign committees to file financial disclosure reports online.

Senate campaign committees are currently the only federal political committees not required to file their financial disclosure reports directly with the Federal Elections Commission—meaning it can take up to a month for Senate campaign disclosures to be made available online.

Tester’s bipartisan Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act—which is cosponsored by Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss.—would close that loophole and make those documents available to the public within a matter of days instead of a matter of weeks.

“By law, the public has a right to know who’s funding the political campaigns of their leaders—but it’s not real transparency when folks have to wait up to a month to get that information,” Tester said.  “That’s the idea behind this bill—to shine more sunlight on our campaigns much more quickly, so that Montanans and citizens across the country can hold their leaders accountable in a meaningful way.”

Tester’s legislation was hailed by the government watchdog group, the Sunlight Foundation.

“Senator Tester should be commended for trying to bring the Senate into the 21st century by requiring mandatory electronic filing of campaign contributions,” said Ellen Miller, co-founder and executive director of the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation.  “More than ever, electronic accountability for who finances campaigns is critical to our democracy. In this new era of bipartisan cooperation, we hope this bill will not be used for political gamesmanship as it was in the past two Congresses.”

Tester’s bipartisan Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act is available on his website, HERE.

Tester was the first member of Congress to post his daily public schedule on his website—a move President Obama urged all members of Congress to make in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday.