FROM: Kim Alexander
DATE: Sunday, October 11, 1998
RE: Online Disclosure Status Report
This edition of CVF-NEWS provides a status report on the California Voter Foundation’s “Follow the Money” efforts to ensure timely Internet access to statewide campaign contributions for the 1998 General Election cycle.
Below you will find: an update on the the Secretary of State’s Electronic Filing program; a list of the statewide campaigns that filed their disclosure reports on computer disk in an ASCII format; an update on the status of CVF and Compaq’s efforts to construct an Internet database of statewide campaign contributions; and a status report on CVF’s plans to update our list of Top Ten Contributors to statewide candidates and ballot measure campaigns.
* * Kudos to the Secretary of State for an Excellent Electronic
Filing Pilot Program! * *
California Secretary of State Bill Jones and his staff have successfully launched their Electronic Filing pilot program. As you may recall, the Secretary of State set up this new voluntary program to help prepare for mandatory electronic filing of all California disclosure reports, which begins in the 1999-2000 election cycle.
The Secretary of State’s new site, at http://reform.ss.ca.gov, features complete disclosure reports, covering summary information, campaign contributions and expenditures for nine California candidates who have agreed to participate in the voluntary program. The new site is very easy to navigate, and features an outstanding search function that allows visitors to search the contributions of several candidates at once. The California Voter Foundation congratulates Secretary of State Bill Jones and his talented staff for putting together this amazing voter education service and for demonstrating that electronic filing can and does work! It is a tremendous accomplishment, and took a great deal of time and effort.
CVF also congratulates the candidates who are participating in the program and whose contributions and expenditures are available RIGHT NOW on the Internet at http://reform.ss.ca.gov . Through their participation, these candidates have demonstrated their commitment to Digital Sunlight and to the California voters who want to make truly informed choices. The list of participating candidates, along with the office their are seeking, is below:
* William L. Bill Jones -- Secretary of State
* Debra Bowen -- State Senate
* Bill Lockyer -- Attorney General
* Chuck Quackenbush -- Insurance Commissioner
* Gray Davis -- Governor
* Susan A. Davis -- State Assembly
* Dean Florez -- State Assembly
* Diane Martinez -- Insurance Commissioner
* Tom Torlakson - State Assembly
Another 21 state candidates signed up to participate in the program, but as of October 11 their reports were not yet available online. To view a complete list of participating candidates, visit http://www.calvoter.org/98general/followthemoney.
* * Statewide campaigns file diskette data in ASCII format * *
As many of you know, California’s new Online Disclosure Act (SB 49 of 1997) requires all statewide candidates and ballot measure campaigns to file their General Election disclosure reports on computer disk as well as paper. The law requires that this data be filed in either an ASCII or PDF format.
The California Voter Foundation contacted every statewide candidate and ballot measure committee and requested that they file their disclosure in an ASCII format, allowing CVF to easily post their records on the Internet and build a searchable, online contributions database.
CVF thanks the following campaigns for filing their disclosure reports in ASCII:
* Michaela Alioto - Secretary of State
* Gloria Matta Tuchman - Superintendent of Public Instruction
* Californians for Yes on Prop. 1A
* Californians for Schools - Yes on 1A
* Californians for Higher Education - Yes on Prop. 1A
* Coalition for Adequate School Housing Issues Committee - Yes on Prop. 1A
* Californians for Indian Self Reliance (Yes on Prop. 5)
* Coalition Against Unregulated Gaming (No on Prop. 5)
* Californians for Smaller Classes (Yes on Prop. 8)
* No on 9 Coalition (No on Prop. 9)
* California Children and Families First Initiative (Yes on Prop. 10)
* * Plans to Publish all Statewide Contributions on the Internet * *
The California Voter Foundation, in partnership with Compaq’s Corporate Research Labs in Palo Alto, is working on getting all the statewide campaign contributions on the Internet as soon as possible. We have been obtaining copies of the disclosure disks from the Secretary of State’s Political Reform Division, which is charging $1 per disk to copy.
The Compaq team, comprised of Dr. Glenn Trewitt and Dr. David Jefferson, have been working all weekend to construct an Internet database where people can browse, search or download statewide contributions. The good news is that the database is on track and is likely to debut on the Internet on Tuesday, October 13.
The bad news is that the contribution data from statewide candidates and ballot measure committees that was disclosed in a PDF format, rather than ASCII, is proving to be an enormous challenge. At the very least, CVF and Compaq plan to feature the PDF files on the Internet in a PDF format, so the public can view them with Adobe’s Acrobat Reader. Some of the other research engineers in Compaq’s lab are working on extracting the PDF format and converting it into an ASCII format so it can be included in the contributions database. We’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on the status of this effort.
* * CVF’s Summary Data and Top Ten Contributors Update * *
CVF’s new California Online Voter Guide “Follow the Money” feature will be updated this week, with new summary information for all statewide campaigns as well as an itemized list of top ten contributors to each statewide candidate and ballot measure committee. Once the new data is available, CVF-NEWS subscribers will be notified immediately. The summary and top ten data that is currently available in CVF’s voter guide covers contributions through June 30, 1998. CVF’s new voter guide is available on the Internet at http://www.calvoter.org.
-- Kim Alexander, President
California Voter Foundation