News Releases, Media Advisories

For Immediate Release:                                                         Contact:  Ron Harris
July 20, 1999                                                                                               Sharon Snyder
                                                                                                                       Ian Stirton
                                                                                                                      Kelly Huff

ELECTRONIC FILING GOES SMOOTHLY AT FEC

WASHINGTON – The Federal Election Commission electronically received and processed over 6,000 pages of campaign reports from presidential committees on July 15, making them available to the public via the Internet almost instantaneously after receipt of those reports at the FEC. July 15 was the filing date for presidential committees’ second-quarter reports, and all reports received on that day were on the FEC’s Website (www.fec.gov) before midnight.

Regulations effective this year specify that if presidential candidates and their authorized committees have computerized their campaign finance records, they must agree to participate in the Commission’s electronic filing program as a condition of accepting federal funding. The Commission has for some time been encouraging all campaign committees to file their reports electronically.

Filing electronically were presidential candidates Gary Bauer, Bill Bradley, Elizabeth Dole, Vice President Albert Gore, Sen. John McCain, and Dan Quayle. Vice President Gore’s committee voluntarily filed electronically, since he has not as yet stipulated whether he will participate in federal funding. Elizabeth Dole’s committee has not yet been certified by the Commission for matching funds, so was not required to file electronically, but did so voluntarily. Committees for candidates Lamar Alexander, Patrick Buchanan, George W. Bush, Malcolm Forbes, John Kasich, and Alan Keyes were not required to file electronically and filed paper reports.

Paper filings require the physical keyboarding of itemized data into the FEC databank, and scanning of the paper pages into the Commission’s imaging system. The entire process can require days to complete.

FEC Chairman Scott Thomas commented, "Electronically filed campaign reports are a boon to the public, the candidates, and the Commission, and I want to commend the committees and the FEC staff who worked on making this a smooth transfer of information. Rather than having to struggle through thousands of pages of paper reports, or wait several days for computerized data, members of the public and press can now quickly ascertain, via the Internet, who is contributing and how campaigns are spending money.

"As a result, real disclosure – meaningful dissemination of information –becomes possible in a time span that wasn’t doable as recently as 1996. I fully expect that more and more committees will be filing their required reports electronically. I would emphasize that electronic filing is mandatory only for presidential candidates in the federal funding program. But I believe the popularity of it will be seen and appreciated by candidates in all federal elections in the near future," Chairman Thomas concluded.

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