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For Immediate Release
May 30, 2002

Contact:

Ron Harris
Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
Kelly Huff

 

FEC CERTIFIES IOWA FOR PAPER-FILING WAIVER

WASHINGTON – Iowa is the 49th state to be certified by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as exempt from a federal requirement to receive and maintain paper copies of campaign finance reports from Presidential, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives candidates, party committees and political action committees (PACs).

Replacing the paper filings is electronic Internet access to campaign reports of federal candidates and committees. Reports are accessed through the FEC’s Internet Web site, and the FEC has provided computer hardware and software, including laser printers, to those states requesting them.

Upon connection to the FEC’s Web site, the states have access to reports filed since 1993 for PACs, party and Presidential committees, since 1996 for Congressional committees, and since May 2000 for U.S. Senate candidates’ committees.

The initial 12 states were certified by the Commission on December 8, 1999 (see December 10, 1999 news release, FEC Web site, www.fec.gov). As of May 29, 2002, when Iowa was certified, the 49 states and territories include: Alabama, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Virgin Islands, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Public Law 104-79 (December 1995) exempted states from receiving and maintaining paper copies of federal campaign finance reports provided that the state, "as determined by the Commission, has a system that permits electronic access to, and duplication of, reports and statements that are filed with the Commission."

The FEC began posting disclosure reports filed by Presidential and House candidates, parties and political action committees, on its Web site in 1997 and has since expanded the site to include electronic filings and a query system that allows for on-line searches of the campaign finance data base. The public in the certified states access the FEC’s Web site to view campaign finance reports, but they are the same reports from federal candidates that, by regulation, had to be duplicated in paper form and filed with the state.

Certification by the FEC is indicative that states and territories possess an adequate computerized system to allow the public electronic access to, and duplication of, reports and statements that are filed with the FEC. Criteria leading to their certification by the FEC were: (1)Possession of at least one computer terminal that can electronically access the Commission’s Web page, with at least one printer (connected either directly or through a network); and (2)the state or territory will, to the greatest extent possible, allow anyone requesting federal campaign finance data, the use of this computer terminal, at any time during regular business hours.

Iowa’s public-access computer terminal is located at the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, 514 East Locust Street, Suite 104, Des Moines, Iowa, 50309-1912.

The FEC and its initiation and implementation of the state paper-filing waiver program was designated in May 2001 as one of 99 semi-finalists from some 1,300 applicants in the "Innovations in American Government" award competition sponsored by the Ford Foundation and administered by Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

 

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