Miss. Secretary of State increases campaign finance transparency

Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Mississippi Secretary of State’s office launched a new website this week for candidates and political committees to file campaign finance reports.
According to a press release from the Secretary of State office, the online platform was designed to increase transparency to the public and save time.
“The goal is to make it as easy as possible to disclose and access information so the public can make educated decisions about their elected officials,” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said in the release.
“Anything you can do electronically from your desk is easier than having to work from paper,” State Rep. Mark Formby said. “It’s a service I will certainly use.”
Depending on the legislative schedule and deadlines for the reports, Formby said the new website could reduce travel to Jackson in some instances.
The website was designed as a searchable system so the public can find reports filed by candidate or political committee name, office, expenditure or contribution, the release states.
Though financial reports have been available to the public in the past, the specificity of the search parameters has been improved.
“If it makes it easier for the public to get those reports that’s fine with me,” Formby said.
According to the release, online filing is not mandatory, candidates and committees can still elect to file traditional paper reports, but Hosemann will petition the state legislature to make use of the online filing system mandatory by 2020.
“In the interim, my hope is candidates and political committees will choose to use our website voluntarily for the sake of efficiency and good government,” Hosemann said in the release.
Traditional paper reports will continue to be available in PDF format, as well as reports filed prior to the launch of the website, the release states.
According to the Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Guide, statewide, state district, legislative and multi county offices are required to file campaign finance reports with the Secretary of State.
Campaign finance reports for countywide and county district offices are filed with the circuit clerk of that county, while municipal office reports are filed with the municipal clerk.
The new web site can be found at http://cfportal.sos.ms.gov/staging/portal/cf/portal.aspx.

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About Julia Arenstam

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