Good Intentions on the Way to Hell

Georgia law requires electronically filed campaign finance disclosures, in addition to the filing of paper copies. In my experience, however, municipalities and most counties are ill equipped for electronic filing. In fact, in some cases the local Elections Superintendent does not even know of the requirement and in numerous cases, despite knowledge of the law there is no way to accomplish the goal except for candidates who file with the Secretary of State.

I’m sure Teddy Lee and the State Ethics Commission will take that into account with some folks in Chatham County.

Ignorance of the law, or so the saying goes, is no excuse.

But for nine Chatham County Commission candidates who failed to file required campaign finance reports last year, ignorance may be close enough.

And there appears to be enough ignorance to go around.

The candidates submitted paper reports but not the electronic ones required of local candidates who raised or spent more than $10,000.

People can view paper reports at the county elections office. Electronic filing requirements are intended to make the information available online.

Electronic filing should happen exclusively through the Secretary of State’s office to make it more convenient and available for municipal and county level candidates. It will also make it easier for good government types to have a one stop shop to review campaign finance disclosures.

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Erick Erickson

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