Campaign finance tool gives GOP candidates a leg-up on FEC filing

Alec Hill Contributor
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The Federal Election Committee’s Q2 filing deadline for campaign finance reports — a date congressional campaigns and national committees do not generally mark on their calenders with gleeful anticipation — was this Tuesday. The very next day, July 17, campaign software giant CMDI unveiled CrimsonFiler, a service that company executives predicted will drastically simplify the complicated filing process.

CrimsonFiler will be “the most significant change to how Republican committees file FEC reports since 1996 when we first invented electronic filing,” a CMDI press release claims.”With the release of CrimsonFiler, preparing and filing an FEC report is now an elegant and easy process.”

As the press release notes, the software will be available exclusively to Republicans. Ginni Badanes, CDMI’s political director, characterized CrimsonFiler as “flexible” and “user-friendly” and said that the program will help the GOP smooth out an otherwise painful process.

“As someone who assembles and files FEC reports for many of our clients, I can’t express how excited I am to use some of these new features,” Badanes told the Daily Caller. “Filing FEC reports will always have some complications and frustrations, but the software you’re using shouldn’t be one of them.”

The process of filing quarterly reports and complying with campaign finance regulations is as much of a headache for political candidates and groups as April 15 is for the average American. As CMDI Vice President Erik Nilsson told, “Campaigns are scared to death of the FEC.” With this in mind, CMDI’s technology appears to focus on simplicity.

CrimsonFiler, Nilsson wrote in a blog post, “reduces complicated FEC filing to three simple steps,” which are based around the software’s ability to ask clearly-phrased questions, upload and organize receipts and expenditures, and electronically file the finished report with the FEC.

CrimsonFiler also checks for errors and inconsistencies in the data, leading Politico’s Influence blog to describe the program as the “TurboTax of FEC Compliance,” referring to the popular electronic tax filing service for individuals.

The simple, “clutter-free” service, CMDI founder John Simms said, would grant Republicans peace of mind: “CrimsonFiler simplifies every step and gives our Republican committees the confidence that they are crossing all the right T’s and dotting all their I’s.” Nilsson added that CrimsonFiler will allow campaigns to focus on their priorities.

“Campaigns don’t get elected because they did a good job filing their FEC reports,” Nilsson told Tech President.

CMDI calls itself the “database of record” for Republican campaigns and national and state level party committees, and their website notes that in 2012, their services processed more than $2 billion in filings and were “used by five Republican Presidential campaigns, including Romney for President.”

The company’s software has reportedly been used to file more than 8,500 FEC reports. CMDI pioneered electronic filing in 1996 for Bob Dole’s Presidential campaign, and did voter-analysis and campaign work as far as back as Ronald Reagan’s first presidential campaign in 1980. In 2013 Crimson, the site claims, “was used to manage $2 out of every $3 raised for Republican federal committees.”

The service will be incorporated into CMDI’s already existing Crimson platform for free, and will be available on July 22.

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