April 25, 2012


Senator Chairs
Rules Hearing on ‘Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act’ – Bill Would Require
Senate Candidates To File Campaign Finance Reports Electronically With FEC


Bipartisan Legislation,
Introduced By Senator Tester, Would Call For Senate To Abandon Burdensome &
Costly Paper Filing System


Schumer: Bill
Would Increase Transparency and Accessibility of Senate Candidate Filings &
Save Taxpayers Thousands Annually  

Washington, DC –
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, today
called for quick passage of a bill to increase transparency in Senate campaign
finance reporting by requiring Senate candidates to file these documents
electronically with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Schumer made the
comments at a Senate hearing he chaired on the legislation, known as the Senate
Campaign Disclosure Parity Act.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester. Schumer is a cosponsor.

In addition to allowing the public more immediate and complete access to these
documents, electronic filing would eliminate unnecessary and costly steps
required for filing on paper, saving taxpayers about $500,000 each year. It
would also make campaign filing rules uniform between the Senate and the House.

“For transparency’s sake, it is time for the Senate to move to a modern system of
filing of its campaign finance reports,” said Schumer. “This bill would not
only save hundreds of thousands of dollars for taxpayers each year, it would
also help provide more immediate and complete access to campaign spending
reports. The public deserves the utmost transparency when it comes to campaign
finances, and the Senate’s switch to e-filing system is long overdue.”  

Under current Senate procedure, campaigns file their finance reports on paper with
the Secretary of the Senate, whose office then scans and sends an electronic
copy of each page to the FEC.  Upon receipt of the documents, an FEC
employee must print out the pages and mail them to a private contractor who
manually types the information into a searchable format and emails it back to
the FEC, where it is finally posted on the internet. This process is not only
expensive, but also creates an unnecessary delay in public access to the
campaign finance information on the FEC website. Tester’s bill would require
candidates to file directly to the FEC electronically, bypassing the Secretary
of the Senate. 

The Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act currently has 24 co-sponsors from both
political parties, including Rules committee members Richard Durbin (D-IL),
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Thad Cochran (R-MS) and
Schumer.  It has a total of 7 Republican and 17 Democratic co-sponsors.
Similar legislation was originally introduced in 2003 by former Senator Russ
Feingold (D-WI). It has been reintroduced in every Congress since then, and has
had up to 47 co-sponsors.