Does it matter that U.S. Rep. Jim Banks' reelection campaign has received more money from political committees, including special-interest PACs, than from individual contributors – and that many of his donors live outside northeast Indiana's 3rd Congressional District?
Or that Banks' challenger in the May 5 Republican primary election, Chris Magiera, has self-financed his campaign by lending it $100,000?
Campaign finance reports required by the Federal Election Commission show how congressional and presidential candidates raise and spend money, which in turn might help inform voters' opinions of the candidates.
These public ledgers reveal who supports a candidate. For instance, Banks' most recent campaign finance report contains the names, addresses, occupations and contribution amounts of donors from Virginia, Florida, Kansas and California as well as those from 3rd District cities Fort Wayne, New Haven, Auburn and Decatur.
The FEC tracks contributors as well as candidates. John Popp, president of Fort Wayne-based Perfection Bakeries Inc., has contributed more than $10,000 to Banks' congressional campaigns since 2015. Popp has given money to three dozen other Republican House and Senate candidates from around the country in that time, according to records on the FEC website.
Regardless of whether there is too much money in elections and too much dark money that cannot be traced, requiring candidates and contributors to make their accounts public gives constituents, campaign watchdogs and the news media a fuller picture of the political process and the players involved.
Brian Francisco reports on the federal government and politics for The Journal Gazette.