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Electronic Filing Bill Stalls Again in Senate

A bill requiring Senate candidates to file electronic fundraising reports continues to flounder, as Republicans Thursday requested additional time to consider the measure.

For the second time in two weeks, Rules Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) attempted Thursday to advance the bill by unanimous consent before an objection was raised — through a proxy — by a still-unknown GOP Senator.

Senate Republican leadership has given assurances that no one on their side has placed a hold on the bill. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and 35 others, would bring Senate candidates in line with political action committees and House and presidential candidates in filing campaign finance documents electronically with the Federal Electronic Commission.

Senators exempted themselves from filing electronically when the requirement came on-line in January 2001. Senators now file hard copies of their campaign finance documents with the Secretary of the Senate. The forms, often hundreds of pages each, ultimately wind up with a Northern Virginia contractor, which charges $250,000 per year to transfer the documents into an electronic format.

— Matthew Murray

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