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March 15, 2017

During Sunshine Week, King Renews Push to Shine Light on Campaign Donations

Reintroduces legislation that would require donations of more than $1,000 be disclosed within 48 hours

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In conjunction with Sunshine Week, a national initiative meant to emphasize the importance of an open government, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today reintroduced legislation to increase transparency in campaign contributions and help inform voters about who is funding the candidates on their ballot. The Real Time Transparency Act would require that all political contributions of $1,000 or more be filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within 48 hours.

“Campaigns should be a battle of ideas on how to best serve the needs of the American people – not a shadow fight among wealthy donors and special interest groups who have their fingers on the purse strings,” Senator King said. “The amount of money in politics is a threat to the fabric of our democracy, and the American people deserve to know – in real-time – who is funding political activity. This bill helps confront the money that is flooding unchecked into our political system and will help Americans looking to make a more informed decision at the ballot box.”

Under current law, a contribution of $1,000 or more to a U.S. Senate campaign must be filed with the Secretary of Senate on a quarterly basis, and all other political action committee or campaign contributions of $1,000 or more must be filed with the FEC on a quarterly basis. Currently, only contributions made within 20 days preceding the election must be disclosed within 48-hours.

More specifically, the bill would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to:

  • Require all candidates for federal office, including those for the U.S. Senate, to report contributions to the FEC within 48-hours. Candidates for the U.S. Senate are currently only required to report contributions to the Secretary of the Senate
  • Apply reporting requirements for transfers from Joint Fundraising Committees to candidates as well as for contributions from individuals directly to candidates
  • Modify the $1000 threshold to make it cumulative within one calendar year, mandating that any individual must report donations whenever total donations equal a multiple of $1000
  • Require a “loop back” to a year before the date of enactment, meaning if an individual makes a contribution of $1000 or more, the candidate must report within 48 hours

Senator King is introducing the bill during Sunshine Week, a national initiative lead by the American Society of News Editors with the aim of promoting the importance of open and transparent government and access to information. U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke is also reintroducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.


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