Williams Campaign Finance Transparency Bill Advances

DOVER – With the issue of campaign finance becoming more prevalent in political circles recently, the House Administration Committee released legislation Wednesday that would increase transparency by creating an additional campaign finance reporting period.

Introduced last year by Rep. Dennis E. Williams, House Bill 170 would establish June 30 as an additional mandatory reporting period for political campaign committees. Rep. Williams said that currently, incumbents and candidates in an election year can raise money from January 1 up until 30 days before the election and voters have no idea how much or from where those donations are coming. By comparison, federal candidates are required to submit quarterly campaign finance reports.

“By establishing an additional reporting period mid-year, we will increase transparency in our elections. Candidates will have to disclose funds they have raised in the first half of a year, which gives the press and public ample time to review those donations months before an election,” said Rep. Williams, D-Talleyville. “In addition to increased transparency, this bill will help campaigns be more organized. Candidates already are tracking donations as they come in, and this will simply mean that they need to have them together for a mid-year report.”

Candidates now files their campaign finance reports with the state Department of Elections electronically, which reduces the amount of bookkeeping and work that was involved with the old paper system of filing reports.

HB 170 now goes to the full House for consideration.