Tester’s Major Campaign Finance Reform Takes Big Step Forward

Senator Also Secures Critical Justice, Public Safety, and Transportation Resources in Annual Funding Bill

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s fight to pass the nation’s first major campaign finance reform in years took a major step forward today.

Tester successfully added his Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act as an amendment to the 2017 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill, an important funding bill. Tester’s bill will require U.S. Senate candidates to file their campaign finance reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission rather than submitting them by hand to the Secretary of the Senate, which will make reports available to the public sooner and save taxpayers more than half a million dollars annually.

“Our campaign finance system is broken,” Tester said. “This bill will bring more transparency and accountability to political campaigns, let folks see finance reports more quickly, and save taxpayers money.”

Tester already voluntarily files his campaign finance reports online.

Tester also secured critical resources for Montana law enforcement officers in the 2017 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill—including additional resources for sexual assault kits for local police departments.

Tester also successfully fought to set aside 5 percent of the Crime Victims Fund exclusively for tribal governments. The Crime Victims Fund pays for itself by collecting criminal fines, forfeited appearance bonds, penalties, special assessments, gifts, and donations, and uses these funds to provide support services for survivors of violent crimes. Too often, resources from the Crime Victims Fund are not allocated to tribes by state and local governments.

“Survivors of violent crimes must be able to access the resources they need to fully recover from traumatic cases-especially in rural communities and Indian Country,” Tester said. “These additional funds will help prosecute violent criminals, ensure that survivors are receiving the support they need, support our law enforcement, and make Montana communities even safer places to raise a family.”

Tester also secured Montana priorities in the 2017 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Bill, which includes funding for the Essential Air Service, the Empire Builder Amtrak Line, TIGER infrastructure grants, and the Small Community Air Service Development Program that helps attract new flights to Montana airports.

The Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill, Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill, and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Bill are three of the 12 must-pass government funding bills. All three bills were passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee today and will now await a final vote on the Senate floor.