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Senate Rules Committee Approves Campaign Electronic Filing Bill

Washington, DC – The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration today approved legislation to require that Senate campaign finance reports be filed electronically, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Committee, announced.

The bill was approved by voice vote.

“This is a major stop forward in bringing the Senate into the modern era,” Chairman Feinstein said. “This is a common sense measure, and I hope we can pass this bill out of the Senate without burdening it with extraneous items that will hold up passage.”

S.223, sponsored by Senators Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), would require Senate campaign finance reports to be filed electronically, rather than in paper format.

Currently, House candidates, Presidential candidates, political action committees and party committees are all required to file electronically. But Senators, Senate candidates and party committees are exempt.

The Senate campaign filing system in place today requires paper copies of disclosure reports to be filed with the Senate Office of Public Records, which scans them to make a digital copy and sends the copy to the Federal Elections Committee (FEC) on a dedicated communications line. The FEC then prints the report and sends it to a vendor in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where the information is keyed in by hand and then transferred back to the FEC database – at cost of approximately $250,000 annually to taxpayers.