Tag Archives: campaign

Time for US Senators to Open Their Campaign Books in a Timely Matter.

Old Time Senators seem fearful of opening their campaign books to voters and for too long have tried to unreasonably hide them from the public. While candidates for the Presidency and House of Representatives file electronically with the Federal Election Commission, members of the US Senate do not. As we’ve written previously, they are still in the dark ages .

As the Federal Elections Commission notes, this means “it can take as long as 30 days before some detailed data filed on paper is available in the Commission’s database.” They have since 2000 requested that Senate candidates file with them electronically but the US Senate has refused to comply, instead having campaigns send paper reports to the Clerk of the Senate, who then forwards them to the FEC to be scanned. Software is obviously available for Senate campaigns to enter data and forward it directly to the FEC since this is what House candidates use.

But that’s only half the story. As Common Cause notes:

The current situation is absurd. Senate campaigns keep their contribution records electronically anyway. What happens next is like a reporting machine designed by the old cartoonist, Rube Goldberg. As it stands now, Senate campaigns take their own electronic records, print them out on paper, ship the paper (cumulatively thousands of pages’ worth) to the Secretary of the Senate, which the Secretary then copies to send to the Federal Election Commission. The FEC then pays six figures of taxpayers’ money to hire a contractor to retype the information into an electronic format!

Senator Russell Feingold (D) on January 9th, 2007 has again filed his “Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act. ” It is filed as S-223 . On Jan 11, 2007 Feingold and Republican co-sponsor Thad Cochran in a press release stated that this “commonsense bill to make our electoral system more transparent is long overdue.” We agree.

But we also think the bill doesn’t go far enough. Compared to Washington State’s campaign Disclosure laws it’s rather wimpy because current disclosure for both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate only require quarterly reporting. Quarterly reporting means that US Senators and Representatives file campaign reports on April 15th, July 15th and Oct 15th before a November election, and on Jan. 31st after the election. This is hardly timely and significant disclosure in light of how quickly money can be raised and spent in campaigns. Disclosure forms need to be filed monthly!

Disclosure in a timely fashion of who is donating to whom and how much is essential to voters being able to know who’s trying to get you to vote for who and why. It helps to know whose interests candidates will be representing even though they will tell you the money has no influence on their votes. Like we are all supposed to believe that, right.

Presidential candidates have the option of reporting monthly or quarterly. I think it should all be monthly. We do it in Washington State for all statewide, legislative and local campaigns. It just makes sense.

Current sponsors of S-223 are Senators Allard, Biden, Boxer, Cornyn, Dorgan,Durban,Feinstein, Graham, Grassley, Hutchinson, Kerry, Landrieu, Lieberman, Lugar, McCain, Murkowski,Obama, Reed, Rockefellar, and Salazar.

Hey Washington State voters – where is Murray and Cantwell? Seems a few other Northwest Senators are also missing. Time to send a few e-mails. Go to the links below and ask them to co-sponsor S-223. Tell them you want to see monthly reporting, not quarterly reporting as they have now.

Washington State Senators:



for other Senators go to:


Tell Congress to Index the Minimum Wage to Inflation.

In 1998 Washington State voters passed Initiative 688 to raise the state minimum wage from $4.90 to $5.70 in 1999 and then to $6.50 in 2000. We also became the first state in the nation to index future increases to inflation. This year the current minimum wage is $7.63.

On Jan.1, 2006 the Washington state minimum wage will increase another $.30/hr to $7.93. It will be the highest in the nation.

In 1998 the Federal minimum wage was $5.15/hr. Nine years have passed and it is still $5.15/hr.

Meanwhile members of Congress have voted several times to raise their salary for a “cost of living increase” during those same 9 years.. Their cost of living increase added $31,600 to their salary. This is equivalent to a $15/hr increase if one worked 40 hours per week for 52 weeks.

The cost of living increase Congress voted for themselves is triple the salary per hour that a minimum wage workers makes. Congressional salary currently is $165,200 per year.

Democrats tried repeatedly to raise the minimum wage but were defeated by the Republican majority. It’s time now with the Democrats taking control of both the House and the Senate to raise the minimum wage. Its only fair.

The New York Times in an editorial Nov 15, 2006 asks “Will Fair Pay Have its Day?”The editorial notes that because the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation in the past that “the purchasing power of the wage has dropped to its lowest level since 1955“. It also notes that “come December, the minimum wage will have remained unchanged for the longest period since it was established in 1938.” The current inaction on raising the minimum wage coincides with Republican control of Congress.

But Democrats, out of the boot of Republican domination of Congress can do the right thing and make future increases in the minimum wage automatic every year to take inflation into account.

If Congress thinks it is necessary for them to keep up with the cost of living, then the same is even more so for someone making minimum wages.