A block, a hold, an objection . . . there has been debate over what to call it, but the fact is that an anonymous Republican senator has put the brakes on S. 223 — a bill to mandate that the Senate file its campaign finance reports electronically; making them more readily available for public view.
There is nothing controversial about this bill and it has strong bipartisan support. The House and the White House already have the same reporting requirements. In fact, most senators maintain campaign finance records electronically, but are required to hand over paper copies nonetheless. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) explains the shenanigans:
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.
It is easy to understand why Senators Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) sought unanimous consent to bring the bill to the floor. One can only assume that any senator who puts an anonymous hold on this bill has something to hide.
Curious? Help find the senator by calling yours and reporting it here.