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June 8, 2009 Dear Senator: The undersigned groups make up the coalition behind Pass482, an effort to ensure S. 482, The Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, is enacted this year. This commonsense legislation would simply require Senate candidates and committees to file their campaign finance reports electronically, as House candidates, presidential candidates and other political committees have been doing for many years. The bill is necessary to correct the current wasteful process by which Senate campaign finance information is manually keyed into FEC databases at a cost to taxpayers of $250,000 per year. The cumbersome process delays public access to campaign finance data. By doing so, it undercuts one of the key purposes of disclosure by delaying online access to information in many thirdquarter and pre-election reports until after Election Day. By virtue of the fact that this is “public information,” it should be made available immediately. There is no rationale for delaying disclosure of the information. We hope you will support this long-overdue piece of legislation. We oppose any amendment that would impinge the bill’s chances of passage. We are especially concerned that Sen. Pat Roberts has indicated that when S. 482 is brought to the Senate floor, he will offer an amendment that would require any nonprofit organization filing an ethics complaint against a sitting senator to publicly disclose its donors. During the 110th Congress Sen. John Ensign insisted on a vote on a similar amendment, ultimately thwarting efforts to bring the bill to the Senate floor. We ask you to oppose this amendment, which is designed to discourage nonprofit organizations from filing ethics complaints against Senators and is not germane to the underlying piece of legislation. By shielding Senators from legitimate inquiries into alleged violations of Senate rules, the amendment is antithetical to the underlying bill, which will, when enacted, result in more, not less, transparency of the political process. This amendment not only jeopardizes a noncontroversial bill, but also raises serious constitutional questions. The Supreme Court, in NAACP v. Alabama prevented the state of Alabama from obtaining the names of the NAACP’s members, noting that doing so would interfere with their rights of free association. In recognition of this case, wellestablished tax law and IRS rules protect the identity of donors to nonprofit organizations to encourage membership and respect donors’ rights of free association and speech. The Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act provides voters with timely online access to critical information. Its enactment should no longer be delayed by the prospect of an unrelated controversial amendment. We hope you will support the bill and oppose any amendment to it.

Sincerely, Lisa Rosenberg Government Affairs Consultant The Sunlight Foundation

Dan Newman Executive Director

Michael Malbin Executive Director The Campaign Finance Institute

Patrice McDermott Director

Sheila Krumholz Executive Director The Center for Responsive Politics

Nick Nyhart President and CEO Public Campaign

Japhet Els Political Director Change Congress

Angela Canterbury Director of Advocacy Public Citizen's Congress Watch Division

Sarah Dufendach Vice President for Legislative Affairs Common Cause

Lee Mason Director, Nonprofit Speech Rights OMB Watch

Thomas Fitton President Judicial Watch

Contact Lisa Rosenberg at the Sunlight Foundation, 202-360-7895 or

482 Dear Senator  

pass482 dear senator letter

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