Senate OKs better transparency

Tester, Baucus support posting Congressional expense reports online

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The U.S. Senate has approved a measure to boost government transparency by making congressional expense reports publicly available online, Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus announced today.

Expense reports document travel, food, lodging and other expenses of Senators and their employees. 

The new online transparency requirement is part of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act.  Tester helped include the requirement in the final version of the bill as a member of the influential Senate Appropriations Committee.

Tester and Baucus both voted for the the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act Wednesday.  It passed the Senate 62-38.

President Obama has already signed the legislation into law, requiring expense reports to be posted on the Senate website in a searchable form beginning in January of 2011.  All expense reports are currently published twice a year in a report that averages several hundred pages.

“This is another good step toward shining some light on the government,” said Tester.  “Montanans expect openness, honesty and accountability.  That’s why we decided to provide taxpayers with quick and easy tools to know exactly how and where their money is being used.”

“I work for 900,000 of the world’s best bosses,” said Baucus.  “They set a high bar for their elected officials and I’m proud to help boost the kind of transparency in Congress that they deserve.”

Tester and Baucus are among the few members of Congress who post their daily schedules on their websites.  Tester was the first member of Congress to do so and has won recognition as an effective advocate for government transparency and accountability.