Electronic filing of campaign finance reports makes sense

It’s taken awhile but there appears there may be support in the U.S. Senate for legislation that will require senatorial candidates to start filing campaign finance reports electronically, something U.S. House of Representatives and presidential candidates have been doing for most of the past 20 years.

Why is filing the reports electronically important? It’s just easier to do for the candidate while greatly speeding the process along, eliminating significant costs associated with entering the information from paper forms. The federal government spends upwards of $900,000 each year on the Senate’s paper-based program.

“We’ve seen no reason why any senator shouldn’t sponsor this common-sense bill. There’s a number of Republicans, Democrats and independents who have taken a stand by sponsoring it,” Michael Beckel, research director of Issue One, a nonpartisan organization focused on transparency, accountability and ethics issues in Washington, told The Associated Press recently. “We encourage all senators, including Sen. Debbie Stabenow, to co-sponsor this legislation.”

Stabenow, Michigan’s senior member in the U.S. Semnate, hasn’t said if she supports or opposes the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, introduced by Sens. John Tester, D-Montana, and Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi.

Sen. Gary Peters, a Democrat from Bloomfield Township, is a co-sponsor of Tester’s bill. Peters is also among 20 senators who voluntarily files his campaign documents electronically with the Federal Elections Commisson.

We urge Stabenow to throw her support behind this common sense measure and work for its passage.

It’s time for the U.S. Senate to move into the 21st century.