Bennet and Romanoff Want to Clean Up Washington?

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

They could start by committing to a little campaign finance transparency.

Candidates for the House of Representatives and the Presidency electronically file lists of their donors and expenses. Not so U.S. senators, who have long exempted themselves from mandatory electronic filing of campaign reports, holding fast to an archaic system of filing their reports with the Secretary of the Senate.

This cumbersome and expensive process requires the Senate to print out these reports and deliver them to the FEC, which must then spend about $250,000 and untold hours having the records typed in, line by line, to the FEC’s databases.

Senator Bennet says that Washington is broken. I agree. There’s a step he can take right now to help fix it–file his FEC report electronically.

And Andrew Romanoff, who wants us all to know that his money is pure as the driven snow, should prove it. Rather than keeping his donors and fundraising totals a secret, he should be transparent about who is funding his campaign and file electronically.

This is what we have to deal with to read who these candidates are getting their money from. That’s less than fax resolution. It’s about 72 DPI, and these politicians print the reports in the smallest possible font so as to make them impossible to read when scanned.

That’s how the Senate has always worked–it’s a good old boy’s club that doesn’t want people to know what’s going on. And all of Colorado’s candidates from both parties are willingly perpetuating that secrecy. They could voluntarily choose to file electronically, but they don’t. And it doesn’t say that any of them are particularly interested in cleaning up Washington.

23 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bluemountains says:

    All the people that type in tiny font, line by line, will be fired. These proposals are bad for the economy.

    Also, I would lose the suspense of waiting every quarter until Romanoff’s FEC reports come out. Where is the fun?

  2. peacemonger says:

    I would like to hear their side as to why they do it that way. There may be another reason. It is always good to hear both sides, IMHO.

    • Advocate says:

      Is there a legitimate concern with electronic filing and security of the numbers and names? From what I understand, the computer systems in DC are far far from being up to date.

      Just wondering. I too would like to see who is giving what to whom and how much for all candidates.  

  3. Ray Springfield says:

    Good work

  4. paulrosenthal says:

    I’m more concerned with what the contributions buy.  I’m not convinced that money from DC has bought Sen. Michael Bennet, but I’m totally convinced that the insurance companies have bought the GOP, lock stock and barrel.

  5. Middle of the Road says:

    Electronic filing almost seems easier to me so I really can’t figure out why more politicians don’t take advantage of it. Why not just cut out the middle man, have a way to verify the info they file electronically and be done with it already?  

    • ThillyWabbit says:

      But unfortunately as long as the Senate is recalcitrant about joining the the rest of the federal political world for a minimum level of transparency, it’s not an either/or but a both. They still have to file on paper with the Secretary of the Senate, but they can also file electronically at the same time with the Federal Election Commission.

      • Middle of the Road says:

        Not talking about the Senate here, but the House–is the House mandated to do both? And why is the Senate exempt? What’s so special about them? Why is it optional for them? And why not save a couple hundred trees and just cut out the paper trail with the SofS? Sure the SoS could verify this stuff electronically.  

        • Ralphie says:

          Neither US House nor US Senate candidates report to the SoS.

        • ThillyWabbit says:

          The Senate exempted itself from the electronic filing requirement because the Senate does not like transparency. The Secretary of the Senate can’t collect reports electronically for two reasons–the Senators don’t like it (the main reason), and because the electronic filing law needs to be tweaked to allow the FEC to receive electronic reports from sources other than the candidates themselves (rather than forwarded by the Secretary of the Senate).

          Senator Feingold has had a bill for years to rectify this, but for some reason it never seems to get calendared.

  6. RedGreen says:

    to the Democratic candidates? Buck, Norton and Wiens all have their issues with each other’s fundraising, and they all say they want to clean up Washington.  

    • ThillyWabbit says:

      The only candidate keeping his bottom line numbers a secret is a Democrat (Romanoff), and the only candidate who has articulated a specific plan for how he or she wants to clean up Washington is also a Democrat (Bennet).

      But I did note in the last paragraph that both parties are in the same boat of secrecy.

  7. MADCO says:

    no way this will happen.

  8. GottaFindaBetterUserName says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the Colorado SOS requires candidates to file electronically unless or they have sought an exemption.

    Is that correct?

    I like the idea that the senate should file electronically.

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