© 1996 San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, June 14, 1996 · Page A24

BART Campaign Finances to be Online

Charles Burress, Chronicle Staff Writer

Known more for expanding its railway than the information superhighway, the BART board of directors became a potential pioneer on the Internet yesterday when it voted to require its members to disclose campaign finances online.

The only catch is that the filings will be on the BART Web page, which doesn't exist yet.

Even so, electronic access to BART campaign contribution and conflict-of-interest statements will soon be a reality, said board President Dan Richard.

"I think we're kind of out on the frontier on this one," he said. "This is something that has been a big issue up in the Legislature, which they have not been willing to do."

Fines for failure to file and financial conflict charges have dogged some BART directors in the past. The FBI is conducting a bribery probe linked to BART directors, though no directors have been charged.

Currently, citizens must go to a county clerk's office to see campaign finance disclosures and to the BART office in Oakland to see conflict-of-interest statements.

The new requirement is part of an adopted package of reforms proposed by board member Joel Keller. They also include clear parliamentary rules for meetings, a $5,000 annual cap on travel expenses, audits of board members' use of BART property, and permission for board members to communicate by e-mail as long as they don't violate open-meeting laws.

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