PUTTING CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS ONLINE GOOD MOVE

Wilkes-Barre, Times Leader

Thursday, January 24, 2008     Page: 7A

IT FELT GOOD to read in Wednesday’s newspaper that the Luzerne County Election Bureau is likely the first in the state to post campaign finance reports online.

For weeks now, there’s been a barrage of bad news regarding county government. It’s reassuring to know that amidst controversies such as the debit card scandal, at least one county office is working to be more useful and open to the public.

Election Bureau Director Leonard Piazza said that before the reports went online, the public had to visit the office during business hours to view the records, which list campaign donations and expenditures. Copies were 25 cents per page, reported staff writer Jennifer Learn-Andes in Wednesday’s edition.

So far, the county has posted reports from 41 of the 87 campaign committees registered in the county. Piazza expects to post the remaining information within a few weeks.

Eventually, five years of reports on each committee will be stored on the county’s Web site.

Check out the Web site when you get a chance. It’s interesting to see who donated – and how much – to each candidate. You may be surprised at how much money is spent to win row officer positions that pay $36,500 annually.

Bravo, election bureau officials, for making these documents more accessible.

The public needs all the help it can get in its effort to keep politicos on the straight and narrow.

How to see them – to access campaign finance reports, go to: http://www.luzernecounty.org/county/departments_agencies/bureau_of_elections/online-access-to-campaign-finance-reports.

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