Grading State Disclosure 2003 Logo Graphic

K e n t u c k y


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Campaign Disclosure Law
Electronic Filing Program
Disclosure Content Accessibility
Online Contextual & Technical Usability

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The State of Disclosure in Kentucky

Even though it received a C-, Kentucky's rank of 13 shows that its campaign finance disclosure program is better than that of many other states. Its biggest strength lies in its law, but it has significant weaknesses in Electronic Filing and in the usability of its web site.

Kentucky has one of the strongest campaign finance disclosure laws in the country. Candidates are required to file quarterly in non-election years and more than two times in election years. Candidates must provide itemized information, including a contributor's occupation and employer, for contributions over $100. Last-minute contributions do not have to be reported prior to an election (except for gubernatorial candidates, who must report last-minute contributions within 24 hours). Detailed information about expenditures greater than $25, including subvendor information, must be disclosed. Independent expenditures over $500 must be reported, but last-minute independent expenditures are not reported prior to an election. Kentucky's electronic filing program is adequately funded, training and technical assistance are offered to filers and web-based filing is available, but electronic filing is voluntary for both statewide and legislative candidates, bringing down its grade in this category.

Kentucky does a good job of making campaign finance data accessible to the public. All campaign finance data is available in a searchable database of contributions on the web site because staff from the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance data enter campaign finance information for candidates who do not file electronically. Unfortunately the data entry takes time and paper filed records are often not available on the site until 10 days after they have been received. The database allows searches by contributor's name, zip code and employer, contribution amount and date. The data can be downloaded for analysis offline, but it is not possible to sort data online and there is no searchable database of expenditures.

The contextual usability of Kentucky's web site is very poor. The site has some historical data about campaign financing, but no lists of total amounts raised and spent by candidates in recent or current elections. It appears that annual campaign finance activity reports are required by law, but the last such report is for 2001. In addition, the site does not explain which campaign finance records are and are not on the site and the disclosure reporting periods are not clearly labeled. Kentucky's scores in the usability testing reflect the poor usability of the site. Only two of six usability testers were able to locate disclosure agency's web site from the state homepage and it took more than ten minutes to do so. Most testers could find no information about the governor's campaign finances.

Disclosure Agency: Kentucky Registry of Election Finance
Disclosure Web Site:

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This page was first published on September 17, 2003
| Last updated on September 17, 2003
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