Something often overlooked in ongoing debates over election campaign reform is the notion of instant campaign contribution transparency in state and federal races of all types.

For example, the campaign of Democrat-cum-independent Al Gross, who is facing off with incumbent Republican Dan Sullivan for one of two Alaska U.S. Senate seats, says it has raised $9.1 million since July 1.

Add that to what he already had, and when Federal Election Commission reports are filed by Oct. 15 Gross is expected to have raised more than $14 million in his campaign.

That means from July 1 to Oct. 15 – 106 days – Gross received boatloads of money and the public has had no idea where it came from. His campaign is not alone, not by a long shot. In state and federal races, money is taken in and much time lapses before the public knows its source.

Knowing the source of a candidate’s support is a critical piece of information for voters. The only way to have fair and open elections is for voters to have all the information they need to make decisions. The current system that allows hiding contributions for weeks or months, or gaming the system to hide contributions until right before or after an election, does little to further the public’s trust in elections.

Immediate transparency would fix that. Something to think about.

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