Tester: Senate campaign reporting needs to ‘join the 21st Century’

Panel holds hearing on Tester’s bipartisan bill that improves accountability, saves money

(U.S. SENATE) – The U.S. Senate today held a hearing on Jon Tester's legislation to improve transparency and save taxpayers money by modernizing campaign finance reporting.

Tester is the author of a bipartisan bill that requires all U.S. Senate candidates to file their quarterly campaign finance reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission. Candidates currently only have to file paper reports with the Secretary of the Senate, leading to delays that prevent the documents from being publicly available online for months. 

Tester, who voluntarily files his FEC reports electronically, says that Montanans hold their elected officials and candidates to the highest ethical standards.

“In Montana, accountability and transparency are expected from our elected officials and candidates for public office,” Tester said today in a Senate hearing on his measure. “This bill would bring Senate campaign reporting and transparency into the 21st Century. The public expects us to do things that make sense, and this makes sense.”

Tester highlighted how under current campaign finance rules, reports filed as early as July could be unavailable to the public until well after an election in November.

Tester also noted that his bipartisan measure will save taxpayers nearly half a million dollars every year and make government more efficient by cutting waste. 

“It is rare that we have an opportunity to both cut spending and improve transparency,” Tester added. “And that’s exactly what my bill will do.”

Tester, a member of the Senate Government Affairs Committee, also noted the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act requires electronic filing of personal quarterly financial reports.

Tester’s bipartisan Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, co-sponsored by Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), is available online HERE. Video of Tester’s hearing is available online HERE.