Online Campaign Finance Filings at http://www.TN.gov Help Tennessee Receive an "A" and the Distinction of "Most Improved State".
According to the study, access to state-level campaign finance information has improved dramatically due to the increase in electronic filings of campaign disclosure reports. The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance launched the Online Campaign Finance system (www.tn.gov/tref) in early 2008 and candidates and Political Action Committees (PACs) are required to use the new system to file their disclosure reports.
The data submitted in the disclosure reports is immediately made available to the public through a user-friendly interface that provides the ability to generate a wide range of customized reports on campaign contributions.
"Tennessee's effective implementation of online services has provided the public with improved access to data and has helped the State efficiently manage new regulatory responsibilities," said Bruce Androphy, Executive Director of the Tennessee Ethics Commission. "These efforts have catapulted Tennessee and are setting the bar for open government through the use of eGovernment."
The enhanced public access via electronic filings is a direct result of the Tennessee Comprehensive Government Ethics Reform Act. Public disclosure was the major theme of the legislation and its provisions became the immediate responsibility of the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance and the newly formed Tennessee Ethics Commission.
The Tennessee Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over the majority of the public disclosure provisions of the Tennessee Comprehensive Government Ethics Reform Act and is tasked with developing a process for managing the wide range of regulatory requirements contained within the Act. One requirement was to develop a process for receiving, approving, storing, and making available to the public, information from thousands of local and state elected officials, lobbyist and those who employ lobbyist in Tennessee. The Commission and the Registry of Finance collaborated with Tennessee.gov, the state's official Web site, to put all of this information online and make it easily accessible.
In addition to the online campaign finance filings, Tennessee has also launched:
Online Disclosure of Interest Statement system (www.tennesseeanytime.org/disclosure), which gives public access to information on sources of income, investments, and business interests for public officials and their families permitting the public to assess whether an official has a conflict of interest, the appearance of a conflict, or no conflict between a number of his/her private and public positions. The site processed more than 7,000 financial disclosure statements from public officials in the first two months of launching.
Online Lobbying Portal (www.tennesseeanytime.org/ilobby) to collect and store information regarding relationships between lobbyists and their employers. Lobbyists and employers of lobbyists are required to file online registrations annually for each contractual relationship and employers are required to file bi-annual expenditure reports. The system provides public access to registration data and allows users to search, browse and cross-reference lobbyist - employer relationships. The portal also allows employers and lobbyists to pay registration fees quickly and securely with a credit card.
About the Tennessee Ethics Commission
The six-member board was created as a result of the Ethics Reform Act of 2006 and commenced operations on October 1st of that year. The Commission is responsible for the collection of over 7,000 disclosure of interest statements for legislative, state and local elected officials; the registration of lobbyists and employers of lobbyists and the filing of employer of lobbyist disclosure reports; and the interpretation and enforcement of certain prohibitions on gifts and campaign contributions. All of this information is collected and made available to the public at the Commission's website: http://tennessee.gov/sos/tec.
About the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance
This seven-member board was created by statute in 1989 as an independent entity, attached to the Department of State for administrative purposes. The Registry, whose members are appointed by the governor and General Assembly, is responsible for enforcing Tennessee's Campaign Financial Disclosure Law, Campaign Contribution Limits Law, Lobbyist Disclosure Law, and Conflict of Interest Disclosure Law. More information can be found on the Registry's website: http://tennessee.gov/tref.
Tennessee.gov is the state of Tennessee's official Web portal (http://www.Tennessee.gov) and is a collaborative effort between the state of Tennessee and eGovernment firm NIC (NASDAQ: EGOV).
NIC is nation's leading provider of official government portals, online services, and secure payment processing solutions. The company's innovative eGovernment services help reduce costs and increase efficiencies for government agencies, citizens, and businesses across the country. NIC provides eGovernment solutions for 2,900 federal, state, and local agencies that serve more than 70 million people in the United States. Additional information is available at http://www.nicusa.com.