By Frank Lewis
Former Ohio Governor and U.S. Senate candidate, Scioto County native Ted Strickland says he will voluntarily file his quarterly campaign finance reports electronically – making detailed information about his campaign donors available to the public instantly online in an easy, searchable format. Strickland is calling on his opponent, U.S. Senator Rob Portman to do the same.
Strickland said the current paper filing system can take weeks, sometimes months, before information about donors is available to the public online. And, according to reports, the Senate’s outdated system has caused the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to actually outsource data to be manually entered by workers in India.
“The fact that American taxpayers are paying foreign workers in India to enter data from U.S. Senate campaigns is simply outrageous, and there’s no reason for it. Let’s bring campaign reporting into the 21st century and save taxpayer dollars,” Strickland said. “I’m filing my report online so the people of Ohio can access it immediately, and I’m calling on Senator Portman to join me.”
Strickland is backing the bipartisan Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, which would require Senate campaigns to file online. The Congressional Budget Office says the bill would save taxpayers nearly half a million dollars every year.
When the Daily Times reached out to Portman for a response, Portman spokeswoman Christyn Lansing said – “Rob is always supportive of eliminating government waste and supports more transparency. We’re taking a look at the bill and will continue to look for ways to save taxpayer dollars and hold the federal government more accountable.”
While U.S. House candidates are already required to file online, current law only requires U.S. Senate campaigns to file paper copies with the Secretary of the Senate. But Senate candidates may choose to voluntarily file online. According to the Washington Post, only 19 Senators voluntarily filed their reports online in 2015, and Portman is not among them.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.