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California Campaign Finance Data
There are three Internet resources for campaign finance information on California races. Click on any of the links below to see what's available:
The 1998 California Campaign Contribution Database
Searchable database of itemized contributions, sponsored by CVF and Compaq Computer Corp.
Background: The California Voter Foundation is dedicated to providing the public with timely and convenient access to campaign finance data. Since 1995, CVF has promoted "digital sunlight", pioneering Internet access to campaign finance records. In 1995, CVF built the world's first real time Internet campaign finance database for the San Francisco mayoral election. In 1996, CVF published late contributions on the Internet for the first time in history. In 1997, CVF intensely monitored California legislation to mandate electronic filing, of, and Internet access to state disclosure data. Senate Bill 49, also known as the Online Disclosure Act of 1997, was passed by the California Legislature and signed into law by Governor Pete Wilson.
California's new Internet disclosure law requires all statewide candidates and ballot measure campaigns that raise or spend money in connection with the 1998 General Election cycle to file their disclosure reports with the Secretary of State on computer disk as well as paper. California's new Internet disclosure law will be fully phased in by the 2000 election cycle, when all state candidates, including candidates for the Legislature, who raise or spend $50,000 to file their reports with the Secretary of State over the Internet. The Internet disclosure law also requires electronic filing of, and Internet access to disclosure reports filed by political parties, political committees, lobbyists, major donors and slate mailer organizations -- basically, everyone who files with the California Secretary of State. Local and federal campaigns are not covered under the new law.
The 1998 California Campaign Contribution Database
GO TO THE DATABASE
The California Voter Foundation, in partnership with Compaq's Network Systems Lab in Palo Alto, is publishing a database of statewide campaign contributions on the Internet, which made its Internet debut on October 14, 1998. The database features campaign contributions filed by statewide candidates and ballot measure committees, and is made possible due to the new Online Disclosure Act, which requires all statewide campaigns to file their disclosure reports on computer disk as well as paper during the six-month 1998 General Election season, in either an ASCII or PDF format. The database is available at http://ca98.election.digital.com.
There are four sets of reports included in the database:
Reports filed on October 5th, 1998 (covering finance activity from July 1 - Sept. 30, 1998);
Reports filed on October 22, 1998 (covering finance activity from Oct. 1 - Oct. 17, 1998);
Late contribution reports (donations of $1,000 or more, disclosed within 24 hours between Oct. 18 - Nov. 3, 1998); and
Reports to be filed on January 31, 1999 (covering finance activity from Oct. 18 - Dec. 31, 1998)
CVF contacted all the statewide campaigns and requested that they file their reports on computer disk in text-based, ASCII format, rather than PDF. Many campaigns complied with this request, and their reports are featured in the database. The Compaq engineers also succeeded in converting some of the PDF files into ASCII data, and those records are included in the database as well. The PDF reports that could not be converted are also being published on the Internet, and can be viewed with Adobe Acrobat. Also included in the database are contributions from statewide candidates who are participating in the Secretary of State's voluntary Electronic Filing project (see below). An overview of all the campaigns featured in the database is available. Read CVF's Oct. 14 news release to find out more about this historic effort.
The Secretary of State's Voluntary Electronic Filing Project
California Secretary of State Bill Jones has launched a voluntary electronic filing project, allowing California state and legislative candidates, for the first time in history, to file their disclosure reports over the Internet. This "proof of concept" program is an important demonstration project that will help ensure the success of California's new mandatory electronic filing and Internet disclosure program, to be implemented for the 2000 election cycle. To learn more about the Secretary of State's efforts, or to view filings from the candidates who are participating, visit http://reform.ss.ca.gov.
CVF applauds all of the candidates who are participating
in the voluntary Electronic Filing project!
Secretary of State
Associate Justice, Supreme Court
State Senate, District 28
State Assembly, District 11
State Assembly, District 15
State Assembly, District 24
State Assembly, District 30
State Assembly, District 30
Susan A. Davis
State Assembly, District 76
Late Contribution Reports from the Secretary of State's Web site
California law requires state campaigns to disclose contributions of $1,000 or more received in the last two weeks of the election within 24 hours to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State's staff is data-entering these records and publishing them on their Internet web site, available at http://Vote98.ss.ca.gov/lcrV98/home.htm.
To learn more about late contribution disclosure on the Internet, read the October 21 edition of CVF-NEWS.
Other Campaign Finance Disclosure Reports from the Secretary of State
The Secretary of State's Political Reform Division periodically compiles and publishes campaign finance and lobbying summary reports. Most recently published is a report summarizing campaign finance activity in the June 1998 Primary election. To find out what else is available, visit the Secretary of State's Political Reform Division on the Web.
To view original, paper copies of disclosure reports filed with the Secretary of State, visit their Political Reform Division at 1500 11th Street, Fourth Floor, Sacramento, CA. To contact the Political Reform Division by phone, call (916) 653-6224. Copies of statewide disclosure reports are also available from the Los Angeles County and San Francisco County election offices.
Federal Campaign Finance Data
Federal Campaign Contributions from the Center for Responsive Politics
The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington D.C. and dedicated to providing the public with easy access to federal campaign finance data. located at http://www.opensecrets.org.
CRP has created campaign finance profiles for every candidate running for Congress this year. Their data is both comprehensive and very simple to use, with easy-to-read bar graphs and pie charts. You'll find direct links to their congressional district profiles the congressional pages of CVF's online voter guide. CRP is updating these profiles on a monthly basis. You can find a complete listing of every California congressional race at http://www.crp.org/1998elect/state_home/98CA.htm
Scanned Images of Federal Disclosure Reports and Electronic Filings from the FEC
The Federal Election Commission's (FEC) web site offers scanned images of disclosure reports, featuring not only federal campaign contributions, but also expenditures. These scanned pages are available on the Internet at http://herndon1.sdrdc.com/index.html.
The FEC also has an electronic filing program in operation, and is making reports filed through their program available on the Internet. You can also find federal contribution guidelines on the FEC's web site, located at http://www.fec.gov.
Local Campaign Finance Data
San Francisco Campaign Finance Data
San Francisco was the first jurisdiction in the world to mandate electronic filing of campaign disclosure reports. You can find recent filings on the San Francisco Ethics Commission's Web site, at http://www.ci.sf.ca.us/ethics/. The site also features disclosure reports filed by political consultants, thanks to a unique new law recently passed by the voters of San Francisco.
In 1995, the California Voter Foundation, in partnership with Digital Equipment Corporation, built the world's first real time, Internet database of campaign contributions and expenditures for the San Francisco mayoral election. The database is still online and available for historical research.
Finding Local Campaign Finance Data
Unfortunately, local contributions and expenditures are not yet widely available on the Internet. Some counties in California have begun to offer a voluntary electronic filing program for local campaigns, but mandatory electronic filing programs are needed to guarantee the public has immediate and comprehensive access to all disclosure data.
In the meantime, you can view original, paper copies of local campaign disclosure reports at your county elections office. The Secretary of State's web site offers a directory of all 58 county elections offices, including phone numbers and street addresses.
this page first published October 6, 1998
last updated July 9, 1999
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