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Excerpt: “Alabama has received another "F" in
an annual study of states' campaign finance disclosure
The new Grading State Disclosure report
says Alabama's grade has been unchanged since the annual
reports began in 2003. Alabama ranks 49th among the
Excerpt: “Once again, and to
no great shock, Alabama has received a failing grade
in an annual study of states' campaign finance disclosure
laws. The reputable Campaign Disclosure Project again
ranked Alabama 49th; alas, the state's grade hasn't
improved since the rankings began five years ago.”
Excerpt: “Alabama's continuing
failure to significantly improve since the report was
first issued in 2003 is particularly galling because
there has been such dramatic improvement in disclosure
laws and accessibility in many other states.
The report cites "a clear and continuing trend
toward greater public access to campaign disclosure data." In
2003, Alabama was one of 17 states receiving an F,
with just two states earning grades of A or B range.
By 2008, 24 states earned an A or B and Alabama was
one of only 10 states receiving a failing grade. Overall,
Alabama ranked 49th out of the 50 states this year.”
Excerpt: “Kansas, which ranked 34th overall, could
be in line for a higher passing grade in the future.
That’s because the survey did not take into account
legislation which passed this spring, said Kim Alexander,
president of the California Voter Foundation, which
helped produce the report.
Earlier this year, lawmakers shrank
oft-derided blackout period by requiring candidates
and special interest groups to file reports about their
last-minute campaign finance transactions before Election
Excerpt: “The national Campaign
Disclosure Project boosted Kentucky's grade for the
state's campaign finance transparency up to a B- from
last year's C+ even as it continued its slide in the
Overall, Kentucky scored the 21st best
campaign finance disclosure system in the United States,
according to the project that is a collaboration by
the California Voter Foundation, the Center for Governmental
Studies, and the UCLA School of Law and is supported
by The Pew Charitable Trusts.”
Excerpt: “The Kentucky General
Assembly failed to pass a bill last year sponsored
by state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, that would
have required candidates who raise more than $25,000
in an election to file their campaign finance reports
electronically directly to the Kentucky Registry of
Electronic filing allows the reports
to show up almost immediately on the registry's Web
site and wouldn't require staff members to manually
input the information.”
Excerpt: “Michigan received an "A plus" for
both its electronic filing program and its ease of use.
The report praises Michigan, noting, "The Secretary
of State's online, searchable databases offer excellent
options for searching, sorting, and downloading campaign
finance data and are accompanied by an excellent description
of the data available."”
Excerpt: “Missouri's ranking
improved primarily because the ethics commission set
up searchable databases in 2004 and the Legislature
passed in 2007 a law requiring most candidates to file
electronically. The study also praised Missouri for
recently adding a download option for search results.
"Perseverance, isn't it?" said
Joe Carroll, director of campaign finance for the Missouri
Carroll said that of the 2,103 registered
committees, 1,591 now file electronically. Committees
that spend less than $15,000 a year are still allowed
to file on paper.”
Excerpt: “A national study says
Montana is getting better at providing access to campaign
finance information, but still ranks low.
The "Grading State Disclosure 2008" project
gave Montana a "D" grade and ranked the state
38th. It is the first time Montana received a passing
grade after the study flunked the state four times.”
Excerpt: “In an annual update
released Wednesday, the group ranked Nevada 45th among
the states in 2008 because of disclosure weaknesses
such as a lack of searchable databases of campaign
contributions and expenditures…
The Nevada secretary of state's office
maintains a voluntary electronic filing program for
candidates, but only about a fifth of the state's candidates
use the system.”
Excerpt: “In a regular report
card by the Campaign Disclosure Project, the state
Board of Elections received higher marks on campaign
finance laws and accessibility of its Web site. Last
year, the state received a C-plus, and in 2003 it received
The state was graded well for requiring
detailed information about contributors of more than
$50, including occupation and employer data, as well
as vendors used by candidates.”
Excerpt: “North Carolina keeps
doing a better job informing voters about where political
candidates get their campaign money and how it's spent.
The state received a B-minus in the
annual report of the California-based Campaign Disclosure
Project released Wednesday. The state got a D-plus
in 2003 and C-plus last year. North Carolina ranks
23rd among the 50 states this year.”
Excerpt: “North Dakota scores
poorly in rankings of state laws that regulate how
political campaigns are paid for.”
Excerpt: “Tuesday's report noted
that public access to state-level campaign finance
data has improved dramatically due to the increase
in electronic filing of campaign disclosure reports.
A total of 24 states now require statewide and legislative
candidates to file electronically, up from 12 in 2003.
In all, 42 states permit candidates to file electronically.”
Excerpt: “South Carolina is the
Second-most improved state in access to campaign finance
records, rising to an overall C but remaining 33rd
among the states, according to an annual survey released
Wednesday by the Campaign Disclosure Project, a consortium
of groups backed by the Pew Charitable Trusts.”
Excerpt: “Tennessee's state campaign
finance disclosure requirements have given the public
considerably more access to data showing the role of
money in state politics in the past five years, according
to a new
Excerpt: “A grade of D-minus
usually is not cause for celebration. But when Utah
received that Wednesday in an annual report card on
state campaign finance disclosure systems, it was the
highest grade the state has ever achieved.
"A D-minus is poor, obviously. But I think we're
at least moving in the right direction," said
Joe Demma, chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert,
whose office collects and distributes data from disclosure
forms. He says a new, more user-friendly system for
searching that data online should be ready early next
Excerpt: “It’s time to throw a bone to Washington’s
campaign disclosure watchdogs. They’re doing
a stellar job, according to experts that measure this
kind of work.
The Campaign Disclosure Project has
ranked the state’s
campaign-finance disclosure as No. 1 in the country
for the fifth straight year. The project, which gave
passing marks to 40 of the 50 states, is the product
of work by the California Voter Foundation, the Center
for Governmental Studies and the UCLA School of Law.
Only Washington and California got
- Rethinking campaign finance disclosure, Monterey County Herald, April 7, 2006
Excerpt: "Monterey County is taking another look at dropping a county
law that requires political campaign finance reports to be posted
on the Web. The rule is part of a county ordinance originally aimed
at making the financial reports of county candidates and campaigns
more accessible to the public. Because of logistical problems complying
with the rules, county supervisors were poised to repeal the Web-posting
requirement...But now county officials are taking another look at
the proposed changes."
- National: Senate system drags out financial-data disclosure,
USA Today, March 5, 2006
Excerpt: "The Senate is responding this week to a lobbying scandal
by pushing proposals that would force lobbyists to disclose more
information on the Internet about their dealings with lawmakers.
But the Senate remains in the Dark Ages when it comes to disclosing
its own campaign-finance data.
Electronic disclosure of campaign contributions and spending is the norm for other federal political activities: presidential and House campaigns, national political parties, political action committees and even independent political groups. In addition, 25 states require electronic filing. But the Senate relies on an expensive, cumbersome, decades-old system that lags the others by weeks...
The main impact of the Senate's self-exemption from electronic
filing is that last-minute campaign contributions remain unknown
to the public when people go to the polls to vote."
- New Mexico -- Legislature Focuses on Accountability, Farmington Daily Times, January 20, 2006
Excerpt: "The proposed legislation prohibits cash donations in
excess of $100 and increases the reporting of donations to the
Secretary of State from once a year in a nonelection year, to twice
a year. Funds would have to be reported in May and November.
[Governor Bill] Richardson said the state has been given an 'F'
grade when it comes to campaign fund disclosure. 'My reforms would
move us from an F to an A,' he said."
- North Carolina -- Watchdog put Black on the spot; Longtime activist hopes the controversy over campaign financing will spark changes, Raleigh
News & Observer, February 12, 2006
Excerpt: "Bob Hall trained a bulky video camera on the witness
stand and watched optometrists from across the state come forward,
compelled to talk under oath about money they funneled to House
Speaker Jim Black and his allies. The nervous eye doctors, as well
as Black, were brought there in large part because of Hall, a one-time
civil rights activist turned crusader for changes in how money
It was a formal complaint by Hall, as research director of a Carrboro
campaign watchdog group called Democracy North Carolina, that led
to the hearings last week by the State Board of Elections. By the
end of three days of testimony, an elections board investigator
had outlined multiple violations of state elections laws involving
Black, one of the most powerful political figures in the state,
and his fellow optometrists. And there was the beginning of talk
within the state's political ranks about one of Hall's favorite
subjects: The need for reforms."
Tennessee -- Ethics experts call state's bill a step forward, The Tennessean, February 12, 2006
Excerpt: "One national watchdog group said the Tennessee public
would get more information about candidates and who's funding
them under the new bill.
Significant steps forward include provisions to require candidates to disclose the occupation and employer of contributors, to file multiple campaign reports every year and to file their reports electronically, said Saskia Mills, executive director of the California Voter Foundation, which analyzes campaign disclosure regulations across the country.
In its assessment last year in campaign finance disclosure laws, Tennessee ranked 33rd. The new bill is sure to improve the state's standing, Mills said.
But she said the public still doesn't have enough information
about who's influencing campaigns. The legislature decided not
to require people and groups that make 'independent expenditures'
to report them. Those are campaign ads and mailers made independently
of candidates but that are designed to work for or against them."
- Iowa -- Iowa needs modern campaign disclosure, Quad-City Times, December 4, 2005
Excerpt: "Go hunting in Iowa for Goldstein's contributions and
you'd still be clicking. And printing. And pouring over hundreds
of printouts. That's why Iowa got a F from The Campaign Disclosure
Project's recent assessment of electronic finance disclosure. Illinois
topped the nation with an A+.
Both have Web sites to disclose information. The difference is in how the information is managed and what candidates are required to do. In Illinois, candidates are required to submit their contributions and expenditures electronically, which makes it easier for candidates and the public.
Iowa still allows paper filing. And their entire Web system is
built around those paper records. The forms are scanned, turned
into images and posted on the Web. That might have been A+ work
in, say, 1999. It's very old school in 2005."
- Iowa -- Iowa campaign finance disclosure improving, but still ranks low, Quad-City Times, November 1, 2005
Excerpt:" Iowa's system of disclosing campaign finance information
improved over the past year, but it still got a 'D' from a watchdog
group that said the state's main deficiency is its failure to provide
searchable data. The Campaign Disclosure Project released rankings
last week in which it graded all 50 states on their disclosure
laws and practices. Overall, Iowa ranked 31st, up from 38th.
'Iowa has shown significant improvement this year, raising its overall grade from an F to a D,' the report states. In addition to the state's campaign disclosure law, the availability of electronic filing, accessibility to campaign finance data and Web site utility were measured to come up with a final rating. The study--a collaboration of the California Voter Foundation, the Center for Governmental Studies and the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law--was supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts. This is the third year for the survey...
'I'm glad to see we're making strides,' said Charles Smithson, executive director of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, which collects campaign finance information in the state...
Saskia Mills, a spokeswoman for the disclosure project, said 24
states mandate that at least some of their candidates file electronically.
And even without electronic filing, she said, it still is possible
to offer searchable data. In Idaho, for example, state workers
input the data. 'It's better than putting static records on the
Web,' she added."
- Nevada -- Nevada's campaign laws fail in report, Las Vegas Sun, November 1, 2005
Excerpt: "Nevada has one of the weakest campaign expense and contribution
laws in the nation, a new report says. The study, 'Campaign Disclosure
Project,' gives Nevada an F for the second consecutive year and
ranks it 46th in the nation for campaign-reporting laws.
Among the shortcomings in Nevada's law are that it fails to give
details on donors who contribute $100 or more, such as their occupation,
employer and the cumulative amount they have donated, the study
said. The study also faulted the state's laws for providing insufficient
details about how campaign dollars are spent and that enforcement
is weak compared to other states."
- North Carolina -- Computers frustrate campaigns, Wilmington Star News, October 24. 2005
Excerpt: "Much depends on the success of the state board's computerization
of the campaign-finance system. Strapped for resources and short
of people to examine the reports, state elections administrators
hope that automating the process will make filing easier and examining
the reports more efficient.
The more campaigns that file electronically, the fewer documents state workers will have to type into state computers. Currently, the campaign finance division of the state elections board is so busy having to manually enter thousands of pages listing contributors and expenses that they've only audited about 7 percent of the groups that played a role in financing the 2004 elections in North Carolina. State law requires that campaign finance forms be examined within four months of an election.
'In the '90s, we took steps toward electronic reporting,' said
Wib Gulley, a former state senator from Durham who sponsored campaign
finance reform legislation that required filing by computer. 'It
was always seen that we would come back and widen that for state
legislative campaigns, but it didn't happen.'"
South Carolina -- Electronic Campaign Finance Reports Nixed in Governor's Race, AP, June 9, 2005
Excerpt: "South Carolina voters probably won't have Internet
access to information on how money influences the governor's
race next year. The Legislature last month approved $318,000
to implement an electronic campaign finance reporting system
at the urging of Gov. Mark Sanford.
But the electronic campaign finance reporting the Legislature approved likely won't be operating in time for the 2006 elections, said Herb Hayden, the State Ethics Commission's executive director...
South Carolina is one of a dozen states--including Alabama, Idaho,
Mississippi, Vermont and Wyoming--that does not have electronic
campaign finance report filing, according to the Campaign Disclosure
Project. That's a project run by the California Voter Foundation,
the Center for Governmental Studies and the UCLA School of Law."