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Where did the 2016 Presidential Candidates stand on Campaign Disclosure in the Senate?

For decades now, nearly all federal campaign finance reports have been filed electronically so we can find out as soon as possible who’s been getting funded by whom. I say “nearly all” because there’s a lone holdout: the U.S. Senate. The United States Senate allows its members to file campaign finance reports on paper, which […]

60 Senators Act to Keep Americans in the Dark About their Campaigns’ Contributors (Just Long Enough)

The filing of campaign finance reports electronically instead of on paper may not seem like a big deal. Who cares about the format, as long as information is made available, right?

If you care about the influence of big money contributors on national politics, you should care about this issue. The United States Senate, unlike […]

What are Your Election Day Stories for 2015?

This morning at 9 AM, I sauntered into my town office to vote. There was no line out the door. There were no candidates politicking right outside the acceptable boundary. There were hardly any cars in the parking lot. Some nice elderly volunteers were having pie but were happy to step away from their table […]

Why the overdue SEC rule will underestimate the gap between CEO and worker pay

In 2010 — five years ago — the U.S. Congress passed into law a requirement that publicly-traded corporations must publicly reveal the gap between the pay for their CEOs and the pay for the rest of their employees. It wasn’t until yesterday that the Securities and Exchange Commission finally followed the law and enacted a […]

Obama Administration Agencies Blow Off Required Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Reports

This month, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board issued its second semi-annual public report on its investigations of the activities of the United States government and the extent to which those activities violate the constitutional rights of everyday people. A juicy tidbit in that report seems to have escaped notice. Let’s cover it.

Focus […]

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Introduces Website and First Report

Empowered to subpoena testimony and documents from the U.S. Government, evaluate the constitutionality of “War on Terror” programs, and report its findings to Congress and the public, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) was supposed to have begun its activities in 2008. But President Barack Obama refused to nominate any members of the […]

You Can't Know Who Acted How to Hide What You Can't Know. Is That Clear?

Nope, the headline of this article isn’t clear to me either, and that’s the problem.

On Thursday of this week, the Senate quietly rolled back a new law that would have required senior government officials’ financial ties to industry to be posted to the Internet, where anyone could review them. There was no public debate. […]

As Staffers Jump Ship, Americans Elect Delays Financial Disclosure Again

According to the IRS, members of the American public have the right to ask for the Form 990 annual financial disclosure from any Section 501(c) corporation. Those disclosures matter because they provide information the activities of corporations that most don’t disclose voluntarily. By looking at a Form 990, it’s possible to find out to some […]

Asking (Again) For Americans Elect Form 990, August 2012

As Americans, we have the right to examine the public records of the corporations that have been granted a public charter. The IRS requires that the Form 990 annual report of any Section 501(c) corporation be delivered within 30 days of the a written request, whether that request has been made by e-mail or by […]

The Common Sense Coalition Releases its Form 1023

When faced with requests for documents about itself, the privatized presidential election corporation Americans Elect has practiced a policy of delaying, obfuscating and outright refusing the public. It’s nice to see that not all 501(c) political corporations behave this way. The Common Sense Coalition, formed by a spinoff of Americans Elect advisors, has departed from […]

The Common Sense Coalition Promises to Disclose its Donors (with Update)

Like Americans Elect, The Common Sense Coalition is a 501(c)(4) corporation. The Common Sense Coalition holds leadership in common with Americans Elect and explicitly identifies itself as continuing the mission of Americans Elect, but in its disclosure behavior it promises to be rather different from Americans Elect.

On June 20 of this year, I […]