CA State-Level Independent Expenditure Search Engine Launched by CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla and MapLight

CA State-Level Independent Expenditure Search Engine Launched by CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla and MapLight

Major donor and independent expenditure committees spent over $80 million in California during the 2014 election cycle

February 9, 2016 -- California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and MapLight, a 501(c)(3), nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that tracks money in politics, are pleased to announce the launch of a new independent expenditure search tool that allows citizens and journalists to easily track the source, recipient, and amount of California state-level independent expenditures from 2001 to the present. The tool will be added to Power Search, the CA Secretary of State's open source campaign finance search engine developed by MapLight.

"Working in a public-private partnership with MapLight is allowing us to greatly improve the speed and accuracy of our campaign data searches. Adding this latest online search tool provides the public and the press easy access to important campaign information. Working with MapLight we are increasing transparency at little to no cost to the state," Padilla added.

"Independent expenditures are a way that wealthy interest groups influence who is elected to run our government," said Daniel G. Newman, President and Co-Founder of MapLight. "The search tool launched today by MapLight and Secretary Padilla supports transparency and accountability in our government, and makes it easier for citizens throughout California to keep track of who is funding election campaigns.

 
MapLight_CA Secretary of State Power Search Tool

Independent expenditures are payments made for political communications that support or oppose a candidate or ballot measure. The money, spent independently of the official candidate or ballot measure committee, usually takes the form of TV and radio advertisements, mailers, or robocalls. These communications are operated by a variety of politically active organizations such as political parties, unions, and super PACs.

"Each election cycle the amount of political spending by Independent expenditure committees continues to grow," said CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla. "Candidate campaign communications are now regularly overshadowed by independent expenditure committees. It is imperative that the public and the press have a clear view of the source and flow of funds going into independent expenditures committees."  

MapLight incorporated many important features into the state's independent expenditure dataset, including standardization of candidate and ballot measure names, removal of duplicate filings, inclusion of unitemized independent expenditures, expender ID-specific searches, ability to download data for further analysis, and more.
 
Media Contacts:
 
MapLight
Alec Saslow
c: 720-319-4948
e: alec@maplight.org

Secretary of State's Office
Sam Mahood
c: 916-653-6575
e: Sam.Mahood@sos.ca.gov