PittsburghJack's Place: Pittsburgh City Paper to offer campaign contribution database

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Pittsburgh City Paper to offer campaign contribution database

Beginning later today, the Pittsburgh City Paper is scheduled to unveil a searchable online database of campaign contributions made to this year's mayoral candidates and city council candidates seeking reelection. Contribution information for candidates for other offices are to be added in the weeks leading up to the election. Fresh data is to be added as it becomes available.

Gathering campaign contribution information used to be a rather laborious and sometimes time consuming undertaking of making a trek to the county board of elections and having the campaign expense reports photocopied. Now, the information will be available simply by stroking a few keys on your computer.

This database will prove to be a useful tool for those who have an interest in tracking campaign donations and will be a real time saver.
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At 4:18 PM, Blogger Vanna said...

Volunteers did the trekking to the Board of Elections for you/the City Paper/for all of us on this one, and the typing, etc., etc. Which is to say that it's still not easy, someone just did it for a change and made it public. Which is to say why can't the Board of Elections move into the current era and require electronic submissions of campaign data information so it could be supplied by the county that way? Hmm.

At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the record, Vanna, this statement --

"Volunteers did the trekking to the Board of Elections for you/the City Paper/for all of us on this one, and the typing, etc., etc."

-- is flatly untrue. The data in CP site was typed in and confirmed by me personally. Progress Pittsburgh did help me obtain some records for one candidate, as I was happy to acknowledge on the CP site. But I personally and independently verified that information myself, which required one of several trips I've made to the Board of Elections in recent days.

I agree with your larger point that the Board of Elections could and should be posting this material on-line, and it's not that I particularly care about taking credit. The problem is that some might conclude from your post here that I relied on the work of others while taking credit for it myself, and that would be a totally false conclusion. I'd appreciate it if you spoke to the folks at P2, or to me personally, so you have a more accurate picture before you make posts of this kind.


-- Chris Potter, Pittsburgh City paper

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Vanna said...

My apologies. I was under the apparently false impression that some Progress Pittsburgh volunteer(s) had in 2005 and this year done a lot of trekking to Board of Elections, typing, etc. not just for the CP online database, but also for the P2 online Knowledge Base, which also contains campaign contribution data as well as a host of additional information about the candidates and their donors.

I think you may have misread my comment, or perhaps I didn't elaborate fully enough. I was more pointing my comments in the direction of the fact that NONE of us, volunteers for P2, citizens, City Paper, etc. should have to trek to the County Elections board and slog through this data. It SHOULD be online.

Kudos to City Paper for getting it online in a searchable database this year. Kudos to Chris Potter for personally verifying all data CP is using. Kudos to the nameless MANY Progress Pittsburgh volunteers who did, this time around and in the past, slog to the BoE to do the same. Kudos to bloggers and reporters/editors like Chris Potter and Rich Lord and others for shining the light on information that frankly any voter should be able to access on their own EASILY, but thanks to the powers-that-be, cannot.

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