The Federal office seekers have to report to the Federal Elections Commission how much money they raised and where they spent it. The site is so bad that a private organization restructured the data to create www.opensecrets.org. The State has an electronic filing requirement as well, and has a site too, some of which repeats the same functionality of the bad FEC site only for state wide offices. On the local level- it’s just a bad collection of PDF’s of scanned documents- some handwritten.
In today’s day of Google and structured data, isn’t it crazy that this information isn’t easily available, in real time for every candidate?
Well, we believe not only that real time reporting could be done, but should be done. Since Citizens United created an imbalance with “corporations are people too” and political campaigns and committees can almost raise money at will, we thought that a system to manage campaign finance is long overdue, because, well as with all things involving data and computers garbage in is garbage out.
We’ve documented how the FEC databases is polluted with bad donor data- ie. the same person is in the database multiple ways- Steve, Stephen, Steven, working for three different companies (all the same). We propose that any political donor has to register as such- complete down to their social security number or Federal Employee Identification number in the case of Corporations or businesses.
From that ID- they can donate to any candidate, using ACH or cc, to each candidate, party or PAC. The money is made instantly available to the campaign, which is given a debit card to use for all expenses, and an open checking account for all other purchases. Cash donations, fundraisers, all would be required to be reported in real time via a mobile app, complete with a photo of a drivers license to accept cash- just like you need a photo ID to vote.
Voila- instant, actual accounting and open transparent elections. Also, candidates would no longer have to go through all the rigamarole of setting up a bank account, a EIN and the like- as well as online CC processing etc- which is a barrier to entry. One system, nationwide.
We don’t expect to build the donation engine, but we do plan on digitizing all the campaign finance records in Montgomery County into a true, clear reporting system for all elected officials, tax levies and the like, so you can see how much all these elected officials cost in ADDITION to their taxpayer funded paychecks they cost us. We call it the Election Tax. We also call them, the best politicians money can buy.
See our list of campaign finance reports, organized by candidate, PAC or Party here: campaign finance reports for Montgomery County Ohio