When you're looking at the new data formats at data.fec.gov, be sure to play with the "Customize Data" button that appears to the right of the format options after you've clicked on a specific file.
This feature is intended to help you focus on a subset of campaigns or committees. The Leadership PAC list, for example, allows for searches for specific sponsors (i.e. members or candidates who sponsor the PAC) or just those committees that have raised or spent more than some threshold amount that you can choose.
You could do this yourself with the data from the files themselves, but sometimes the volume of data may make it better to narrow the focus before you download the data.
Let us know if there are other search options that would be helpful for these files.
We've gotten a question about identification of Native American Tribes in the data about specific contributions. Tribes are permitted to make contributions under most of the same rules that apply to individuals - e.g. they can contribute up to $2,400 per election to candidates for federal office.
Isolating these contributions from tribes can be tricky and it is
especially difficult to see how much one tribe has given overall
because different campaigns or committees might use variations on the
name of the tribe when they report the contributions. The comment asks
if we have plans to assign specific ID numbers to these tribes to help
with that aggregation.
This is the place where we'll try to help you through the mechanics of using FEC information, give you information about our plans for the future, ask for your help as we think about and develop new disclosure tools, and where you can share ideas and techniques for working with data from the Commission.[Read More]
As we get questions from data users in different forums than this one (email, phone calls, etc.) I'll try to keep an eye out for those that deserve a broader audience and we'll post them here.[Read More]