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Tester offers e-filing amendment to budget bill

'We are pushing for a vote,' Montana Democrat's spokeswoman says

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 Updated:

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has this evening introduced an amendment to the Senate budget bill that would require senators to electronically file campaign finance reports, the Center for Public Integrity has learned.

The move comes a month after Tester re-introduced legislation toward the same goal.

Senate campaign committees are the only federal political committees not required to file their financial disclosure reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission. As a result, it can take weeks, if not months, to get detailed information about who is bankrolling senators and Senate hopefuls.

"This is one other way to tackle this problem, trying to get senators and Senate candidates to file online," Tester spokeswoman Andrea Helling told the Center for Public Integrity. "We are pushing for a vote but whether or not we get one is to be determined."

Tester's e-filing amendment is one of more than 600 amendments have been filed as part of the budget bill's "vote-o-rama," though few will ultimately receive an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

With numerous amendments of all sorts being offered, it’s difficult to know at this juncture which ones will receive consideration, said Matt McAlvanah, communications director for Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

“In general, she’s been supportive of transparency,” McAlvanah said of Murray.

Representatives for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., could not be immediately reached for comment.

Update, March 24, 8:27 a.m.: Tester's amendment was not included in the budget resolution, which passed early Saturday.

Tester's "Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act," S. 375, presently has 28 bipartisan cosponsors, including Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Thad Cochran, R-Miss. and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

"It's 2013 and high-time for the Senate to bring its campaign finance reporting into the 21st century," Tester said when he re-introduced the bill in February.

Senior Political Reporter Dave Levinthal contributed to this report.