by Natalie Kapustik
Legislation authored by Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, to bring transparency and efficiency to Pennsylvania’s campaign finance reporting system was approved by the state Senate.
Under Senate Bill 140, all candidates for office and political action committees will be required to file with the secretary of the commonwealth by utilizing the Pennsylvania Department of State’s online filing system to provide campaign finance reports.
Finance reports in Pennsylvania currently are filed through paper submission, which requires Department of State staff to upload copies to the department’s website and delays the public’s access to reports. About 32 states already use an electronic filing system.
“I believe this legislation both strengthens transparency as well as modernizes Pennsylvania’s campaign finance reporting requirements,” Browne said. “It will expedite public access to reports, improve accountability and reduce expenses for the Department of State.”
The bill increases penalties for late filings and provides an exemption for those without computer access. It establishes a training program for the online filing system and requires the Department of State to make all information available in a publicly accessible database within four days.
The bill passed the Senate, 49-0, and heads to the House for consideration.
– – –