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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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How to dig into a candidate’s contributors

October 31st, 2012 · 5 Comments

Now that the last batch of pre-election disclosure reports have been filed, there’s more digging to be done.

Kirk Caldwell’s campaign raised $602,598.50 since the August primary election. Here’s a snapshot of those who gave $3,000 or more during this period. I’m starting there because this seems to be where the money is.

Caldwell top donors

You can click on this chart for a few extra details.

Rail-related contractors and unions are well represented on the list of top donors, including the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters PAC, Parsons Brinckerhoff, InfraConsult, and Kiewit.

[**Correction: John Dwyer, who is listed as a contributor of $4,000 to Caldwell, actually did not contribute to his 2012 mayoral campaign. Dwyer, who has actively been backing Caldwell's opponent, Ben Cayetano, says the campaign made an error in reporting his name. Click here to see my Nov. 2 post concerning Dwyer's situation.]

The Campaign Spending Commission offers an easy way to get a more detailed look at contributions from these corporate sources.

Go to the Campaign Spending Commisison website, then choose “View Reports –> Candidate Committees“, then keep going by clicking “Candidate Contribution and Expenditure Reports“, and then click on “Special Report” in the menu bar at the top of the page.

You can now search for the candidate of your choice, choose a reporting period, and you’ll be presented with a number of ways to display the data. These include sorting by amount and then by contributor name, and “Sorted by Employer and than by Occupation and than by Contributor Name,” as well as a list of other options, probably all worth exploring.

As an aside…yes, the commission form says “than” instead of “then”, although clearly the latter would be correct in this context. It’s small print, though, so maybe no one notices.

In any case, I selected Caldwell’s most recent report, and then clicked for the “employer-occupation-contributor” sort.

The result can be found here.

Now it’s easy to see that there were at least 9 contributions from people associated with InfraConsult, another 9 from Parsons Brinckerhoff, and so on.

Browse around and let us know what things of note you might find.

And if some of my links here don’t work, please let me know!

Tags: Campaigns · Politics

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Garfield // Oct 31, 2012 at 9:43 am

    The most recent “Frontline” program, aired just last night (October 30) on PBS , “Big Sky, Big Money”, discussing at length the tasks of journalists tracking the huge political contributions being made in Montana races is available for viewing now at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/big-sky-big-money/

  • 2 Natalie // Oct 31, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Thank you, Ian. That’s very helpful.

    I noticed there are a lot of individuals who made contributions who do not have an employer or occupation listed. Is there a legal requirement for donors to disclose that information to candidates? And if so, is there a penalty for not disclosing it?

  • 3 cwd // Oct 31, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Bad bad bad for failing to do the same thing for the other candidate running for Mayor.

    Since almost all elections in the United States have to be privately-funded, what’s wrong with people who have money help underwrite the costs for their favorite candidate’s election?

    A relative of mine held a fundraiser at $35,000 per ticket with over 150 Democrats attending the event. Not me, of course, as I don’t live in Washington State nor do I have that much spare change in my four penny jars.

    Does that mean these people are bad because they made this type of donation to elect/re-elect Democratic Party candidates?

  • 4 Nancy Cook Lauer // Oct 31, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I have always been frustrated that you can’t search by contributor across all races in Hawaii as I was used to doing in Florida. Now *that* is useful information.

  • 5 Ian Lind // Oct 31, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Here’s the provision in the campaign spending law requiring candidate committees to report employment info of contributors who give over $1,000
    .
    Campaigns must report–

    “The amount and date of deposit of each contribution and the name, address, occupation, and employer of each contributor who makes contributions aggregating $1,000 or more during an election period; provided that if all the information is not on file, the contribution shall be returned to the contributor within thirty days of deposit;…”

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