World-Herald editorial: Campaign reports would add light

When you give money to a campaign, what do you want it to pay for?

Gasoline to help your candidate drive to rallies — or money to gamble away at a casino? Stamps for mailing out campaign literature — or money to get a tattoo?

State senators in the past have used campaign funds for gambling and tattoos, even Internet dating services. A campaign treasurer once took thousands of dollars without the candidate’s knowledge.

Legislative Bill 166, introduced by State Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue, is a sensible idea that could help stop such abuses.

It would require campaign committees to file an end-of-the-year bank balance or bank statement, along with their annual campaign finance reports. This simple added documentation would allow the Accountability and Disclosure Commission to verify the numbers reported by campaigns and thus help prevent fraud or misuse. The bill also would prohibit personal loans from campaign funds.

Call it the Donor Protection Act.

No one spoke against the proposal at a recent hearing, but similar bills have died in the past. Skeptics say there’s no need for the requirement, since only a few politicians abuse the system.

But without the extra reports, how do we know?

Read more at the Omaha World Herald.