E-file resolution on campaign contributions

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Amy Smith
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:35 pm

E-file resolution on campaign contributions

Post by Amy Smith » Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:22 am

Here's the revised draft of a proposed E-file resolution on today's Council agenda (Item #21), introduced by Council Member Leslie Pool and unanimously approved by the Audit & Finance Committee at its June 24 meeting.

Amy Smith
Chief of Staff
Council Member Leslie Pool, District 7

WHEREAS, easily accessible public disclosure via the Internet of campaign contributions and expenditures is essential for providing political transparency and ensuring that Austinites have faith in the integrity of our democratic process; and
WHEREAS, providing the public with the means to have timely and user-friendly access to electronically-searchable and downloadable contribution, expenditure, and other campaign data greatly enhances transparency; and
WHEREAS, requiring candidates, officeholders, and political committees to provide their campaign data in a digital format that supports access to the data is now common in Texas cities and generally in the United States; and
WHEREAS, all candidates, political committees, and makers of independent expenditures have the capacity to use simple software to record, store, and share campaign data electronically; and
WHEREAS, the City’s next municipal elections are scheduled to occur in 2016; NOW, THEREFORE,
The City Manager is directed to develop an ordinance for Council consideration at the first Council meeting in August, and that ordinance shall require that periodic reports of all contributions and expenditures by a candidate, officeholder, or political committee that are required to be filed under the Texas Election Code or under the Austin City Code are filed in an electronic format as directed by the City Clerk. The City Clerk and the City Manager shall create a downloadable, searchable database that the public may easily access via the Internet. From that database, the public shall be able to download the data and shall be able to make standard queries including but not limited to querying a sortable list of all contributors to a filer, a sortable list of all contributions by a single person or entity, a sortable list of all expenditures by a filer, and a sortable list of all payments made by all filers to a vendor.
The City Clerk and the City Manager are directed to develop and implement a simple, streamlined, cost-effective means for filers to timely and accurately submit the raw data in an electronic format from which the City can: (1) easily upload the data into an electronic, searchable, publicly accessible database; (2) establish standard public search queries via the City’s website; and (3) have such system thoroughly tested and fully functioning no later than February 1, 2016.
The City Clerk, the City Manager, and through the City Manager any necessary departments shall place a high-level priority on directing information technology and other resources so as to implement such system effectively, fully, and timely.
The City Manager and the City Clerk are directed to draft and develop an implementation plan within 30 days of passage of the ordinance, which plan may be phased or stepped and which plan shall include recommendations for the development of an electronic filing system. The plan shall be presented for discussion at a public meeting of the Council Audit and Finance Committee; and, additionally, the City Manager and the City Clerk shall make monthly progress reports thereafter to the Council Audit and Finance Committee to ensure that the system is implemented timely and completely.

ADOPTED: , 2015 ATTEST:______________________
Jannette S. Goodall
City Clerk
Policy Advisor
Office of Leslie Pool, District 7