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Require quarterly state campaign finance reports

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  • Require quarterly state campaign finance reports

    Started by Greg Abbott

    Amend the Texas Election Code to require quarterly reporting of campaign financial data by legislators, statewide elected officials, and political action committees.

    Current financial reporting requirements for political candidates are insufficient. Reports are required only semi-annually, as well as a few final reports in the last few days before an election. (See: Texas Election Code Chapter 254). After a candidate has filed a form appointing a campaign treasurer, the candidate is responsible for filing periodic reports of contributions and expenditures. Generally, candidates and officeholders are required to file reports of contributions and expenditures by January 15 and July 15 of each year. The reports filed on these dates are known as semiannual reports. An opposed candidate in an upcoming election must file reports of contributions and expenditures 30 days and 8 days before the election. In addition, a final report is required after the conclusion of a campaign – whether the candidate wins, loses, or withdraws from the contest.

    Until the last month of an election campaign reporting is only semiannual, leaving voters poorly informed as to what parties are financing a campaign – a major indicator of the interests that a candidate is likely to take seriously if elected to office. In contrast, committees filing with the FEC generally submit reports on a quarterly or monthly schedule. Texas should adopt these more reliable ethical standards, and require campaign finance reports to be submitted quarterly.

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