Michigan’s top elections official wants to require political campaigns to report financial contributions within 48 hours after they receive them, one of several proposals aimed at giving voters nearly real-time information about the money behind the candidates. As part of this week’s observance of National Sunshine Week, an initiative aimed at improving government transparency, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said she is working with lawmakers to draft legislation and push through some long-elusive changes to the state’s campaign finance system. Under current law, voters often have to wait months before being able to access critical information about contributors to groups funding the candidates. “That’s a long time not to have that information, with lots of voting going on and lots of decision making,” she said.
Instead, state-level campaigns and committees established to campaign for or against ballot questions would have to report any contribution exceeding $1,000 within two days and allow anyone to access it online within three. Currently, during an election year, groups only have to report periodically, once in January and then again before and after the primary and general elections.
Johnson, a Republican, also is proposing that candidates be required to file electronic reports if they raise $5,000 a year, up from the current $20,000. She wants to impose the same kind of electronic reporting requirements on mayors, township trustees and other city officials as candidates for state office face, allowing voters to monitor which campaigns are delinquent in reporting the information.