FROM:   Kim Alexander, CVF President
DATE:   January 20, 2000
RE:   California Moves Into the Digital Sunlight

Hi Folks,

Today Secretary of State Bill Jones gave the news media a sneak peak at California's new online disclosure program that will provide instant Internet access to California campaign finance disclosure reports. The new system, called "CAL-ACCESS" allows candidates and other filers to submit their disclosure reports electronically via the Internet. Once received, the reports are instantly published online at where the public can view them. Jones demonstrated how the system will work with his own disclosure report today.

Once online, the public will be able to view reports as "PDF" files, which look exactly like the paper reports. The public will also be able to search campaign finance data across files and by a variety of fields, such as name, date, amount, occupation, city, state and zip. The first round of electronically-filed reports will begin to be filed this Sunday, January 23rd, and, if all goes well, should be immediately available online.

As many of you know, the California Voter Foundation has been advocating for online disclosure since 1995, and has undertaken several demonstration projects over the years to highlight the benefits of online disclosure. The new CAL-ACCESS program has been in development for the past two years, after the California legislature passed the Online Disclosure Act in 1997 mandating electronic filing and online disclosure for California candidates and campaigns. It's taken several years of hard work to move California's campaign finance data onto the Internet and into the "digital sunlight", and CVF congratulates the Secretary of State, his staff, and the Legislature for their hard work and leadership.

CVF will continue monitoring implementation of the Online Disclosure Act throughout this election season, and will be sure to keep CVF-NEWS subscribers updated on new developments. For more information about online disclosure, please visit CVF's Digital Sunlight web site, at For more details about today's announcement, please see Secretary of State Bill Jones' news release below. You can also find much more information about the online disclosure program at the Secretary of State's web site.

Kim Alexander, President
California Voter Foundation


Contact: Beth Miller, Shad Balch -- 916/653-6575

Secretary pf State Bill Jones Unveils CAL-ACCESS Program for Immediate Access to Campaign Finance Disclosure Statements

Candidates and Ballot Measure Committees Will Now File Campaign Statements Electronically, Providing Immediate Access Through the Internet

SACRAMENTO --- Ushering in a new era of public access and campaign disclosure technology, Secretary of State Bill Jones today launched the CAL-ACCESS program, a new system designed to provide immediate public access to campaign contribution and expenditure reports on the Internet. In addition, Secretary Jones announced that between January 23nd and
January 27, 2000 candidates and ballot measure committees will begin filing their statements electronically over the Internet to disclose campaign activity between January 1st and January 22, 2000.

"The CAL-ACCESS program restores California as the national leader in campaign finance reform, which has been my long-held commitment to the people," said Secretary Jones. "Our system of government operates on the premise of accountability to all Californians. CAL-ACCESS will increase that accountability by providing voters with valuable information that will allow them to follow the money trail behind last minute campaign advertising for ballot measures or candidates," added Jones.

Pursuant to legislation enacted in 1997, all campaign committees that have raised or spent $100,000 or more during the calendar year 1999 are now required to file their financial disclosure statements electronically.

Immediately after they file, all information will be accessible on the Internet through the CAL-ACCESS program on the Secretary of State's home page

Recognizing the potential for technology in government, five years ago Secretary Jones appointed a blue-ribbon advisory panel to study the feasibility of electronic filing. The results showed that it would increase access to information and efficiency for filing campaign finance disclosure, two of Secretary Jones highest priorities for political reform.

"Voters want to know who contributes to campaigns, and by posting campaign reports on the Internet we will be shedding much needed light on the process," said Senator Betty Karnette (D-Long Beach) who authored the legislation (SB49) to implement the program, which was sponsored by Secretary Jones.

Earlier legislation sponsored by Secretary Jones to bring about electronic filing was authored by Senator Jackie Speier, Senator Bruce McPherson and former Senator Quentin Kopp.

The CAL-ACCESS program will be fully implemented beginning Monday, January 23, 2000. For more information regarding electronic filing, please refer to the Secretary of State's web site:

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This page was first published on January 21, 2000 | Last updated on January 21, 2000
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