As campaign finance reports from Delaware candidates, political parties, and political action committees (PACs) are made publicly available today, Common Cause Delaware calls for lawmakers to require more regular and detailed reporting, so that voters can better understand the monied interests behind our democratic elections.
“Where’s the money coming from? Delaware voters deserve to know who is funding political campaigns and how those campaigns are spending that money to influence our vote,” said Claire Snyder-Hall, Common Cause Delaware Executive Director. “More frequent and comprehensive campaign finance reports help create a more informed public. When a voter has more information about a candidate — and that candidate’s funders — they can make educated decisions about who to vote for.”
Currently, Delaware law only requires three spending reports be made available: at the end of year, 30 days prior to an election, and eight days prior to an election. The addition of quarterly reporting would improve transparency and help voters hold candidates accountable.
In addition to more frequent reporting, Common Cause Delaware urges lawmakers to require that donors disclose their occupation and employer when making political contributions. This information is currently required for donations to federal campaigns. These details allow voters to better understand where campaign funds are coming from, and what kind of support a candidate is receiving.
“Knowing the employer and occupation of political donors is vitally important information,” said Snyder-Hall. “For example, if voters were to learn that 50% of all contributions to New Castle County council members come from big developers, wouldn’t that affect how they evaluate candidates during an election? People generally work for the person who pays them, and that is no less true in politics.”
Last year, HB 366, a bill requiring the disclosure of employer and occupation, failed to make it out of committee. Common Cause Delaware looks forward to seeing that bill reintroduced, along with a bill adding quarterly reporting to the Delaware Code.