For Immediate Release
Tuesday, December 7, 1999

For More information, contact:
Kim Alexander or Stephen Levine
916-325-2120 or

Digital Sunlight Survey Finds Nation is Moving Toward
Internet Disclosure of Money in Politics

National Forecast: Partly Sunny

Sacramento -- Today the California Voter Foundation released the results of a nationwide survey and forecast on the status of Internet disclosure of money in politics. The survey looked at efforts underway in all 50 states to implement programs that provide for electronic filing of, and Internet access to campaign finance records. The survey found that 35 states currently offer some kind of campaign finance data on official state web sites, and 32 states are moving forward with electronic filing programs. The full report and state-by-state summaries can be found online at:

"Overall we were impressed to find that many state agencies understand the public's need to have timely and convenient access to campaign finance disclosure information and are working hard to develop electronic filing and online disclosure programs," said Kim Alexander, President of the California Voter Foundation and co-author of the report. "In American democracy, money talks. For too long campaign finance data has been hidden in piles of paper housed in government agencies' filing cabinets. Now, thanks to new laws requiring electronic filing and Internet disclosure of campaign finance reports, the public is finally getting the kind of meaningful access needed to understand how money is affecting politics."

Each state was evaluated by a team of experienced researchers and a panel of expert judges and rated for its progress toward electronic filing of political disclosure records, and current availability of campaign finance data on official state web sites. Seven states with the best performance earned the prestigious Digital Sunlight Award, including Illinois, California, Michigan, Virginia, Hawaii, Louisiana and New York. These states were found to have the most advanced programs to provide electronic filing for candidates as well as the most comprehensive and user-friendly campaign disclosure web sites.

Other states had varying levels of progress in these areas, and were placed into five other categories: Mostly Sunny, Partly Sunny, Partly Cloudy, Mostly Cloudy, and Dark Skies. The ratings reflect the combined efforts of the legislative and executive branches of state government and the state agency responsible for public disclosure.

The Digital Sunlight web site provides additional information about the ratings, including a full report, a rank and summary for each state, the awards criteria, a Digital Sunlight map of the United States, and links to campaign finance disclosure information available on the Internet.

The Digital Sunlight Awards are the first-ever nationwide ranking of the 50 states' movement toward Internet disclosure of money in politics, and provide a benchmark from which future progress can be measured. "Through the Digital Sunlight Awards, the California Voter Foundation hopes shine a brighter light on one of the most important and promising areas of political reform," Alexander said.

The Digital Sunlight Awards and Progress Report is funded with a grant from the Joyce Foundation of Chicago. Awards judges included representatives from several prominent national organizations promoting better disclosure, including the Center for Responsive Politics, the Center for Public Integrity, the Center for Governmental Studies, Investigative Reporters and Editors' Campaign Finance Information Center, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics. The California Voter Foundation is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization advancing new technologies to improve democracy. More information about CVF is available online at

# # # # #

Digital Sunlight is a project of the California Voter Foundation
copyright 1999; all rights reserved.