Scott Swafford, Mining online campaign finance records


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Reynolds Fellow Scott Swafford spoke about campaign finance records at RJI's "Down-home Democracy: Empowering Citizens With Outstanding Coverage of Local Elections" on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014.

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Scott Swafford, Mining online campaign finance records

  1. 1. Campaign finance How to bring meaning to the money game surrounding local elections
  2. 2. Key points • Like it or not, people are curious about the money that drives campaigns for local office. • Covering the horse-race in small doses can help propel interest in an election, as long as we don’t overdo it. • Give people the raw data in a digestible format, and they’ll spend plenty of time poring over it. • Work hard to provide the context that gives the numbers meaning. Who’s giving money to whom? How much? And why?
  3. 3. Who must file finance reports? • In Missouri, anyone who is seeking public office, and who intends to raise or spend more than $500 for or on their campaign. • Even those who plan to keep their fund-raising and spending below those limits must file statements of limited activity. • Any committee that organizes and spends money promoting or opposing a state or local ballot issue or a particular candidate.
  4. 4. Where must they file finance reports? • Candidates for federal office file with the Federal Elections Commission. • Candidates for state office file with the Missouri Ethics Commission. • Candidates for city and county offices in cities/counties with populations of more than 100,000 file with both the local county clerk or election board and with the Missouri Ethics Commission. • Candidates for city and county offices in smaller cities/counties file with their local election authority.
  5. 5. When must they file? • As soon as they form a committee. For April election in Missouri • Committee deadline is March 9. • Personal finance disclosures due by Feb. 14. • 40 days before the election, or Feb. 27. • 8 days before the election, or March 31. • 30 days after the scheduled election, or May 9.
  6. 6. Some examples • Columbia Missourian, 2013 City Council races • Columbia Missourian, 2008 state representative races • Columbia Tribune, post 2013 City Council races • Columbia Missourian, 2012 general election
  7. 7. Where to go in other states • Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board • Illinois State Board of Elections, Division of Campaign Disclosure • Kansas Ethics Commission/Kansas Secretary of State • South Carolina State Ethics Commission, Public Accountability and Reporting System
  8. 8. Anatomy of a campaign finance report
  9. 9. Navigating a campaign finance web site
  10. 10. Lobbying Missouri