Government transparency is a wonderful thing, especially when all you need is an internet connection.
Through the California Secretary of State’s website anyone can easily find out how much politicians throughout the Golden State have raised for their campaigns, from whom they received it, and how they’ve spent their contribitions. Searches can also be made for info on groups supporting or opposing individual ballot measures and propositions, or even by lobbyist.
“Behests” can also be browsed through the Fair Political Practives Commission – these are the payments politicians don’t ask for themselves, but for pet projects or favors for others – payments are “made at the ‘behest’ of elected officials to be used for legislative, governmental or charitable purposes.”
Using this info, you can found out a particular individuals donor history, find out how many employees from a single company contributed to a campaign, or see how much an opposition group has raised and who’s behind it. And with bills on November’s ballot to ban gay marriage, among other controversial intiatives, it could prove interesting to see who’s putting out cash for each angle.
I also recently wrote about the City of Los Angeles’ campaign finance database on LA Metblogs.