June 06, 2011

Gillibrand Announces New Steps in Ongoing Effort to Make Government More Open and Transparent at The Personal Democracy Forum 2011

Co-Sponsors Legislation Requiring Senators to File FEC Reports Online, Will Comply Before Law Passes Calls for All Public Government Documents To Be Posted Online

New York, NY – Speaking at the Personal Democracy Forum 2011 at New York University, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today announced she is supporting two new efforts in an ongoing effort to make government more transparent and accountable. Senator Gillibrand said she will co-sponsor a proposal in the U.S. Senate which would for the first time require all Senators to file electronic Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports, a practice she will voluntarily comply with beginning the next reporting period. Gillibrand is also co-sponsoring legislation requiring all public government documents be made available online or machine readable. Gillibrand has lead by example in making government more open and transparent, she was the first member of Congress to post her official daily schedule, all earmark requests and personal financial disclosure form on her official website.  

Senator Gillibrand said, “It is time to bring Congress into the 21st Century. I haven’t been in Washington long, but it doesn’t take long to know that it’s broken. Everyday people are not being heard because too much business is happening behind closed doors. My agenda puts the interests of families before all else by making government more transparent, accountable, and efficient. Citizens have a right to see who is in the pocket of special interests and who is running a real grassroots campaign without delay and access any public government information on their computers or mobile devices. My agenda makes that process fully open by ensuring that transparency keeps up with technology.”

To speed disclosure of Senate campaign contributions, Senator Gillibrand will cosponsor the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Jon Tester that requires all Senators to file their FEC reports online. Senate campaigns remain the only federal political committee not required to file these reports electronically. As a result of the current inefficient, cumbersome process, there is up to a month wait time before information can be obtained.  

Senator Gillibrand will also co-sponsor the Public Online Information Act, requiring any public government document to be made available and searchable online and in user-friendly formats, before it can be deemed public. Agencies would have three years to prepare before disclosing public records online.

A strong voice for transparency and reform in government, Senator Gillibrand has advocated for complete transparency for all federal earmark requests. Her reform plan will also end automatic pay raises for Members of Congress and rein in corporate special interest influence on elections. Gillibrand worked to successfully ban Senators from placing obstructive, anonymous holds on important Presidential nominations or legislation in the U.S. Senate.