Our Opinion: Now is the time to fix campaign finance laws | NevadaAppeal.com

Our Opinion: Now is the time to fix campaign finance laws

The news that gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid opened 91 shell political action committees to funnel money into his campaign was pretty

shocking.

The possibility that it was all legal is what actually concerns us.

With calls for campaign finance reform coming just a few days before Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston broke the story about the Reid campaign, it’s obvious there are some flaws in the system.

It should be an easy matter to trace Reid’s action committees online, but you won’t find any of them on the secretary of state’s website now.

It also should be an easy matter for voters to find out for themselves who is contributing to political campaigns in a timely matter.

Secretary of State Ross Miller proposed requiring all reports to be filed online four days before the election. Current law says the reports need to be out a week before general Election Day, but the loophole is that they need to be postmarked on the deadline.

Those filed locally under the current system are usually in time for their content to be published by the press before the election. But since most candidates turn in printed forms, it’s hard for voters to get information for themselves.

Filing online would improve that, but the earlier deadline doesn’t help, and frankly with as many as 40 percent of voters going to the polls early or casting absentee ballots, the information is too late to be much use.

Technically, it’s possible to automate the reporting to the point where a simpler form could provide a weekly update online for each candidate’s finances.

Nevada’s campaign finance laws clearly require work. What we decide will say a great deal about us.