FROM: Kim Alexander
DATE: Ocotber 21, 1998
RE: Late contributions are now online!
I’m happy to inform you that the Secretary of State’s office began publishing late contribution reports on their web site yesterday!
As you may recall, California law requires that all statewide and legislative candidates, as well as ballot measure campaigns, disclose contributions of $1,000 or more received in the final two weeks of the election season within 24 hours to the Secretary of State. Though the law requires immediate disclosure, the paper reports were traditionally made available to the public in the Secretary of State’s office in Sacramento, where only a handful of reporters typically viewed the records.
All that has changed, thanks to the California Voter Foundation, the California Legislature, and the Secretary of State. In 1996, CVF launched “Late Contribution Watch”, a project where a team of researchers took laptops to the Secretary of State’s office every day, tracked all the large, late contributions received during that year’s General Election, and posted daily updates to CVF’s web site and CVF-NEWS. In 1997, the California Legislature passed the Online Disclosure Act, which, among other things, codified CVF’s “Late Contribution Watch” project by requiring the Secretary of State to data-enter and post late contributions on the Internet, starting with the 1998 General Election. Secretary of State Bill Jones and his staff implemented the project earlier than required, and began publishing late contributions on the Internet for the June 1998 Primary election.
Late contributions have historically comprised as much as 25 percent of all the money raised by California campaigns during the 6-month General Election season. Now these important, last-minute contributions are in the “digital sunlight”, where they belong. CVF is also featuring the late contributions made to statewide campaigns in our 1998 California Campaign Contribution Database, which we’ve constructed in partnership with Compaq Labs.
You can find the CVF/Compaq database on the Internet at:
You can view all of the late contributions (including those made to legislative candidates) at the Secretary of State’s web site at :
More information about the Secretary of State’s program is available below. CVF applauds Secretary of State Bill Jones and his staff for yet another successful Internet disclosure project.
-- Kim Alexander, President
California Voter Foundation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 20, 1998
Contact: Alfie Charles, Shirley Washington
Last Minute Contribution Disclosure Now
Available On-Line Within 24 Hours
Contributions of $1,000 or More to State Candidates and Initiatives Will Appear on the Internet;
Web Site Address: www.ss.ca.gov
SACRAMENTO --- California Secretary of State Bill Jones today unveiled a new component to his 1998 election web site that will allow the public to have on-line access to last minute contribution data during the final two weeks before the election. Contributions or independent expenditures of $1,000 or more made during the final 16 days before the election must be reported to the Secretary of State within 24 hours of receipt. The Secretary of State will then post that contribution and independent expenditure information on the Internet at www.ss.ca.gov.
"The public deserves to know who is funding the last minute attack ads that will soon be filling the airwaves," said Secretary Jones. "Full disclosure of campaign finances will help voters make more informed choices on November 3rd.
"These last two weeks, the money will be flying fast and furiously into targeted legislative races," said Jones. "This site is designed to provide campaign finance information to voters well in advance of election day."
Visitors to the Internet site will be able to review the contribution data by recipient, contributor and date the information was filed.
Secretary Jones first posted this last minute contribution data on the secretary of state's web site during the June 1998 election, building on an earlier effort put forth by the California Voter Foundation for the 1996 general election. The posting of this information is now required by law as the result of Senate Bill 49 (Karnette) which also set forth the requirements for the mandatory electronic filing of campaign reports for the 2000 elections.
"Last minute contributions often decide the fate of a candidate or ballot measure. I want to ensure that the public has immediate access to this information by requiring that it be posted online as soon as possible," said Senator Betty Karnette, Chair of the Senate Elections Committee and author of the Online Disclosure Act of 1997.
Several weeks ago, Jones also demonstrated the state's first-ever electronic filing of campaign contribution reports over the Internet. Contribution and expenditure data is available on-line for the candidates who voluntarily participated in Secretary Jones' on-line filing project at "reform.ss.ca.gov". A unique search function allows Internet users to sort contribution data using several criteria - including candidate name and office sought, contribution amount, and contributor name. The second pre-election report, which includes activity through October 17, 1998 will be filed by October 22, 1998.