FROM: Kim Alexander
DATE: April 21, 1999
RE: Commonwealth Club, Pres. campaign $ and more

Hi Folks!

In this edition of CVF-NEWS....

* CVF & other Webby Award winners at the Commonwealth Club 4/23
* Gore & Bradley file disclosure reports with FEC over the Internet
* L.A. Times publishes report on California's major donors
* California Channel wins cable industry's Beacon Award

* * CVF & other Webby Award winners at the Commonwealth Club 4/23 * *

This Friday, April 23rd, the Commonwealth Club of California is hosting a panel called "Best of the Webbies". I've been asked to speak at the event, along with David Talbot of Salon Magazine, Michael Goldberg of SonicNet, and Tiffany Shlain, Executive Producer of the Webby Awards, about what makes our web sites "hot, fresh and juicy".

The event is taking place in San Francisco at the Commonwealth Club's office at 595 Market Street, and is open to club members and the public. If you're in the area, I hope you'll try to join us! Here are the details:

4:45 p.m. - reception
5:15 - 6:15 p.m. - program
Location: Commonwealth Club, 595 Market Street, San Francisco
Cost: $6 for members; $9 for nonmembers
Reservations: (415) 597-6705

The event will be followed by a "Cyberspace Soiree" at the Bubble Lounge, 7 - 9 p.m., 714 Montgomery Street @ Clay. The cost is $35 for members and $39 for non-members. Advanced reservations are required: (415) 597-6700.

For more information, visit

* * Gore & Bradley file disclosure reports with FEC over the Internet * *

The California Voter Foundation congratulates Al Gore and Bill Bradley for becoming the first two major presidential candidates to file their campaign disclosure reports with the Federal Election Commission over the Internet!

As longtime CVF-NEWS subscribers know, electronic filing is the first and most important step toward timely Internet disclosure of campaign finance records. The Bradley and Gore filings are a perfect example: their online reports cover the first quarter of 1999 (January 1 - March 31), and were filed two weeks after the close of the reporting period. Once filed in a digital format, their contributions and expenditures were available online almost immediately. By comparison, when the FEC must data-enter campaign contributions (as the agency has routinely done for years), there is typically a six-week gap in time between the date the reports were filed and the date they are actually computerized and available for online publication.

I took a quick look at their first quarter 1999 reports, and found that Bradley's contains 5121 itemized contributions. He raised a total of $4,301,882, spent $1,474,688, and ended the first quarter with $2,867,754 cash-on-hand. Gore, meanwhile, has two different committees. The GORE 2000 General Election Legal and Accounting Compliance Fund took in 1,196 contributions, raised a total of $1,129,005, spent $48,932, and had $1,080,073 cash-on-hand. His other committee, Gore 2000 Inc. received 9,814 contributions, raised a total of $8,881,977, spent $2,031,342, and had $6,850,634 cash-on-hand.

The FEC's voluntary electronic filing program is run by SDR Technologies of California, and has been well-developed since it was introduced last year. The FEC's web site allows you to view the reports online, or download the data for importing into your own computer program so that you can sort and analyze the data anyway you want. We're hoping the FEC will also soon offer a search option for their online records. But even if they don't, you can still have great fun playing with the FEC's data by visiting Tony Raymond's FECinfo site.

For many years, Tony has imported FEC data and offers user-friendly search features that allow the public to easily search federal campaign contributions on the Internet. His site also features George W. Bush's contributions, which were posted on the Bush web site. (This is helpful, but be forewarned: there is no guarantee that contributions posted on a candidate's web site reflect all of the data filed with official disclosure agencies. For this reason, CVF encourages candidates to participate in electronic filing programs sponsored by disclosure agencies instead of posting contributions on their web site.) I did a quick search of each of the three candidates' first quarter contributions, and found that Gore received a total of 1,342 contributions from Californians, while Bush received 1,464 and Bradley
received 535.

Let's hope more presidential candidates follow the example set by Bradley and Gore!

To view the FEC reports, visit (the online reports are also linked from the FEC's homepage at

To search the data, visit FECinfo:

* * L.A. Times publishes report on California's major donors * *

Los Angeles Times reporter Dan Morain published a major story in last Sunday's paper identifying the biggest campaign contributors in California. Those of you who used CVF's Top Ten Contributors lists during the 1998 election will already be familiar with many of these names -- now you can find out more about their backgrounds and political agendas. Read the story online at:

* * California Channel wins cable industry's Beacon Award * *

CVF congratulates the California Channel for winning the prestigious Beacon Award for "Cable's Free AirTime" project! The California Voter Foundation, along with the League of Women Voters of California, partnered with Cal Channel to create five-minute interviews with every statewide candidate in last year's election, which ran repeatedly on Cal Channel and were also made available on the Internet. The Beacon Award is given by the Cable Television Public Affairs Association, and over 500 entries for this award were submitted by cable stations across the country. Cal Channel invested an enormous amount of time and energy, as well as significant funding to produce the Free Airtime project, and recognition for their award is well-deserved!

That's all the news for now. I hope everyone is having a great week and is enjoying the lovely spring weather!