(OpenSecrets) – Abiding by all the rules and regulations involved in running for federal office can be laborious. Maybe that’s why several newly-elected lawmakers have fallen down on the requirement to identify their donors not just by name and address but also by occupation and employer.
The Center for Responsive Politics calculates each candidate’s quality of disclosure according to whether a campaign’s filings to the Federal Election Commission provide all the required information about their contributors. Most do quite well.
But there are a couple of outliers among the newly-elected members.
Of the freshmen congressional members, Texas Republican Steve Stockman maintains the worst quality of disclosure with just 50.5 percent of his donors fully identified.
Federal election law requires candidates to list each donor’s name, address, occupation and employer in their filings of itemized contributions above $200. If campaign contributions are accompanied by incomplete information — often having vague or no responses for occupation or employer — the campaign must send a notice informing the donor the information is required by law. However, not successfully obtaining complete donor information does not affect the contribution.
So for Rep.-elect Stockman, complete forms exist for just half of his donors of more than $200 — although they were responsible for about $109,000 of his total $354,500 raised.
Although Stockman’s disclosure quality is rated the lowest, others aren’t far behind him. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who also will be sworn in in January, submitted complete information on just 69.2 percent of his more-than-$200 donors. PAC contributions played a role in Collins’ fundraising, but 60 percent of his $762,000 raised came from large individual contributions.
Other new House members did far better. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), for instance, clocked in at 99.1 percent; Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), 98.3 percent; Dina Titus (D-Nev.), 88.3 percent; and Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), 86.9 percent.
But newly-elected House members Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) and Chris Stewart (R-Utah) also have disclosure rates that fall well below average at 74.9 percent and 75.3 percent, respectively.
The Center ranks the best and worst lawmakers in terms of quality of disclosure among all House and Senate members who raised at least $200,000 from contributions greater than $200. Collins is the only new House member on the “worst” list, earning the third lowest percent disclosed. (Other new members with a poor disclosure quality raised more than $200,000 total, but less than that when small-dollar donations were subtracted out.)
Of the six newly-elected senators, Tim Kaine (D-Va.) has full disclosure on 98.3 percent of his donors, the best of the pack. Two others have disclosure quality percentages above 96 percent. Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren is at the bottom of the group with 76.7 percent of her donors fully identified. She also is ranked third on the list of worst disclosure in the Senate. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is second worst after Warren, at 80.5 percent.
Warren raised $42 million in one of the most expensive elections this cycle, and people who donated more than $200 accounted for $22.3 million of it, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.