State Campaign Finance Transparency Commission Needs New Computers; Name

We’ve received numerous reports to the tipline over the past couple of days about the computers crashing at the Commission formerly known as Prince Ethics. The State Campaign Finance Transparency Commission continues to be understaffed and their technology is overloaded. They quite literally can’t perform their most basic mission, which is to receive and post campaign disclosures.

This becomes a problem for determining who is in compliance, and who is actually late in filing. I have numerous anecdotes from people who haven’t been able to file on time because of the overloaded systems. Some report getting fines easily waived, others say they continue to struggle.

The “ethics reform” that was passed by the 2010 legislature put a lot of additional burden on the commission. Then, their budget was cut. After that nasty issue of subpoenas went away, some of their funding was restored.

The fact remains that they still can’t perform their basic mission with the resources they have. How, then, can we count on them to go above receiving and posting disclosures and actually investigate and/or audit?

Meanwhile, if you’ve had issues posting your reports, feel free to share your story below.

16 comments

  1. Calypso says:

    @ Charlie—

    Somehow I can go into saltycracker’s comments and both modify and delete them. Something goofy is going on with the site or WordPress or the Rastafarians. Please fix this before temptation overwhelms me and salty begins posting stuff that he had no idea he said.

    Actually, I just noticed I can go into Nathan’s as well. Perhaps it is a free-for-all for everyone today. Things might get interesting. I wonder what Rick Day might say next?!?!? Or Harry?!?!?

    Addendum: Works for me too on Calypso’s comment. — Mike Stucka

    Dang, I was hoping I’d be King of Comments for a day.—Calypso

    Fine by me. I’ll stand down, but I did just e-mail your original comment to Charlie for hopefully expeditious review. =) — Mike Stucka

    Looks like the computers of more than just the Transparency Committee are mucked up.—Calypso

    Many on this blog are of the conservative persuasion. Maybe the computers, like reality, also has a well-known liberal bias. =) — Mike

    • Nathan says:

      How do we know that you just don’t have multiple personalities?

      If that’s the case, you and I have a lot in common apparently – David Staples

      Cool. This is sort of like…actually I don’t know what it’s like.–Calypso

  2. I had no issues filing my Campaign Contributions Report back on July 3rd. I would imagine that the closer you get to the deadline the more you run into the procrastinators who are trying to file at the last possible minute.

    Is this the real David Staples saying this or the person in charge of the computers where the reports are sent?–Calypso

    This is the real David Staples – please attach this to your next utility bill for a 25% discount or contact me directly for a free chicken. – with saltycrackers of course……

    • Calypso says:

      I’m taking the 25% discount, that’s worth more than a free chicken. Is this electronic coupon valid now, or do we need to wait until you’re elected to the PSC?

      • It’s redeemable now I believe… you just have to take your utility bill to saltycrackers and work out the details with him. I don’t see any fine print though so I’m not sure what all the deal entails. 🙂

    • Haha, I see salty took advantage of the bug with the Modify link earlier. In order to redeem your 25% discount or free chicken, please contact saltycrackers directly. It sounds like he’s offering to help cover part of your electric bill. 🙂

      • saltycracker says:

        25% ? Why I love utilities (for now) – A few years ago I showed you how a small investment in SoCo stock would pay 100% of your utility bills, forever, no maintenance & portable……I updated some numbers last yr. & now looking again it got better –

        saltycracker January 5, 2011

        Not knocking your decisions on the other stocks. While the stock hasn’t been a barn burner like say FPL now NEE the dividends have been steady & better than letting the money lie around:

        SO – 2010 – stock up about 15% plus about 5% div. = 20% for 2010

        1/5/11: $38.50 div. $1.82 = 4.80%

        update
        7/10/12: $46.94 div. $1.96 = 4.20%

        So if your electricity was $100 month in 2010 you’d need 667 s. @ $33 per which paid div. about $1.80 ($1,200) costing $22,000. Pretty good deal for a total lifetime, maintenance free, portable electrical system (called stock vs. something you installed). And the farther back in time you did something the better the deal.

        Today your system (stocks) would be worth $31,300 paying you $1,300. My electricity is a bit less today because of some updated appliances & HVAC.

        Gotta love those power companies !

        • Sounds like it’s worked out pretty well for you. Most of my money has been going into refurbishing the farm that we bought as a foreclosure. I’ve pulled money out of savings for a variety of projects around here so my brokerage account is a bit slim for the time being. Having a baby tends to change priorities of where money goes around the farm. I know I’ve got to file a financial disclosure at some point anyways, but I’ve got 183 shares of ARR and 50 shares of NLY in my personal brokerage account. That puts my NLY dividends at $113.50 per year and my ARR dividends at $241.56 for a total of $355.06 per year. My cost was $2053 and they have a market value of $2175.40. So…

          $1300 / $355.06 = 3.66

          3.66 * 2175.40 = $7961.96

          …which is the amount I would need to get the same amount of dividends that you get from $31.3k worth of SO stock. If I had $31.3k invested in the same proportions I do now, I’d earn $5110.55 in dividends yearly. 🙂

          • saltycracker says:

            just a suggestion before you install your own power system on the farm….until then my bet is the farm & baby will give you a heck of a lot more satisfaction than some brokerage account on paper, 20 yrs. from now you’ll still know you made the best decision…

  3. Bob Loblaw says:

    The Commission doesn’t need more computers. The Commission needs more lawyers! Lawyers make everything better.

  4. Harry says:

    On Sunday around midnight I filed the quarterly report for a certain candidate and it went through like a greased pig on skids – no problem. You guys shouldn’t wait to file until the last hours.

  5. sethweathers says:

    The Ethics website is an absolute fiasco.

    Half if the search reports are inaccurate or fail when you attempt to filter results

    Government at its best 🙂

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