We sat down yesterday afternoon with a group of users of our FTP files to talk about changes we're planning as we move to a different database platform. First, thanks to everyone who participated - it was very helpful to us and hopefully will improve what we are able to provide going forward.[Read More]
We've started work on several projects for the 2012 election cycle. Take a look at this list and let us know if we've missed something important or if you have ideas about anything you see here. We plan to have several of these ready for the April quarterly filings this year while others (presidential campaign summaries, more itemized data files) may take a little longer.
We're happy to hear from you with ideas for any of these or different data projects you think we should be working on in this cycle.
We've begun posting detailed data from electioneering communications filings on the ftp server - ec_exp_2010.csv or ec_exp_2010.txt. (We have some background on this activity and the reporting system.) We'll be posting this file on the same schedule we're using for independent expenditures - a new version at the start of each business day and another one late in the afternoon (eastern time).[Read More]
As we get ready to launch the new data files for independent expenditure and electioneering communication filings during the 2010 general election campaign, I thought it would be useful to talk a little about what we will be including in the files and some of the changes that may come during this campaign season.[Read More]
The reporting requirements for Electioneering Communications (the broadcast ads running within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election that make reference to federal candidates but don't "expressly advocate" their election or defeat) are a little different than most everything else we see, so we're struggling with the best way to present the data.[Read More]
For those of you who would like to get a jump on the release of detailed candidate disbursement data (scheduled for next
Monday Tuesday the 11th) here is a link to the schema for the file. We're actually adding schemas for the other files in the catalog as well.
We've also updated the draft metadata page for disbursements with some changes that we've made in the last week or so.
We're working on the front end for detailed candidate disbursement files, and we'd like to get your feedback. Take a look at these screenshots and let us know what you think.[Read More]
At long last, we're getting ready to create the first set of data files containing detailed entries on campaign committee spending. We're planning to start with data for all 2009-2010 congressional campaigns (including Senate) with data covering the period from January 1, 2009. There have been a couple of problems in preparing these data, but we think we have an approach that can work now.[Read More]
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.
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]
We're going to try to use this category of the blog to deal with specific questions or problems you find in the data you get from us. If you find something you don't understand or you think is simply wrong - post a comment here and we'll look into it and report back.
I'll probably turn some of the comments into new posts -- threads that deal with common problems or issues - but you can also think of this as the tool to use to make us accountable - everyone will see your questions and whether and how and when we respond to them.
This is the sausage-making, so it may not always be pretty, but contrary to the old adage, I think it will be better if everyone can see it happen. . .