Gov. Tom Corbett today announced his administration has launched a revamped, more user-friendly website for Pennsylvanians to view the campaign finance reports of candidates for state legislative and statewide offices.
“Part of my pledge to make government more open and transparent includes making it easier for Pennsylvanians to see who is contributing to political campaigns, and how campaign money is being spent,” Corbett said. “Citizens have a right to know who is funding campaigns, and this redesigned website will make that much easier.”
Campaign contributions and expenditures are by law public information. The Department of State, which receives and files campaign finance reports, has maintained a website for several years where these reports are filed. However, while all finance reports are on the site, users often found it difficult to locate specific reports due to a cumbersome search process.
This system was in place when Governor Corbett took office in 2011. After seeing the difficulty many people encountered using this system during the 2012 election cycle, the governor directed the Department of State to develop a better system for the next year when most candidates who file their reports with the department would be on the ballot.
The new site offers visitors a variety of candidate filings from which to choose. Without the user selecting another type of filing, the site automatically defaults to showing campaign reports, which contain the most comprehensive information on what a candidate or campaign committee raised and spent. The site also defaults to the current year, unless a user chooses a specific past year, or all years for which a given candidate has filed reports.
Candidates on the ballot this year who file their nominating petitions and campaign finance reports with the Department of State include those running for governor, state senate and state house. Candidates for other statewide offices, such as attorney general, auditor general, treasurer, statewide judicial offices, and judges of county courts of common pleas, also file nominating petitions and campaign finance reports with the Department of State.
Candidates for federal offices, including President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives, file their nominating petitions with the Department of State, but their campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C. Candidates for local and county offices file their nominating petitions and campaign finance reports with their respective county board of elections.
The campaign finance website is available by visiting www.dos.state.pa.us, and under the heading “Most Frequently Requested Services”, clicking on “Campaign Finance Report Search”.