House committee OKs Freeman bill to provide voters with earlier information on campaign contributions

HARRISBURG, March 19 – Pennsylvania House and Senate candidates would be required to file campaign expense reports at more frequent intervals to create a more transparent reporting process during an election year, under legislation unanimously approved today by the House State Government Committee and written by state Rep. Robert Freeman.

"The change would provide earlier disclosure and greater transparency on who is contributing to candidates for the General Assembly," said Freeman, D-Northampton. "This is information voters should have access to earlier in a campaign than they currently do."

The legislation (H.B. 1220) would require candidates for the Pennsylvania General Assembly to also file campaign expense reports on or before the sixth Tuesday before the election. They are currently only required to file on the second Friday before the election, but Freeman’s proposal would add the additional filing, matching the campaign expense report filing requirement of candidates for statewide office.

The currently required second-Friday expense report is filed just 10 days before the election. Freeman said that filing comes so close to the election that the information about where a candidate is getting contributions from tends to get lost in the last week of campaign literature and other information.

"This earlier reporting requirement would allow voters to see who is backing which candidates and what they stand for, or more importantly, who they stand with," Freeman said.

"It also would have an added benefit for candidates since the last filing before the election would end up being shorter, as it would cover a shorter period of time than what is currently required. Much of the reporting will have already been covered in the sixth Tuesday before the election report."

The legislation now awaits a vote by the full state House of Representatives.