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Who funds campaigns? Mississippi eases into searchable info

Mississippi is becoming the last state to allow electronic filing of campaign finance reports, a step toward easier public access to information about who is spending money to influence elections.

The National Institute on Money in State Politics says all other states already had either mandatory or voluntary electronic filing of finance reports.

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann launched a voluntary electronic filing system Tuesday.

The secretary of state’s staff has scanned candidates’ paper forms and posted them online for years. But those are not searchable and it’s burdensome to calculate, for example, how much money a group or person gives to multiple candidates.

Hosemann says he will ask legislators to make electronic filing mandatory for statewide and district candidates starting in 2020 — after the current four-year term.

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