EXPLANATION OF DATA


Because there are many different types of reports required by the states, the Directory has been limited to those reports which relate to public officials in the public trust.  The Directory is not meant to be a definitive listing of all documents relating to public officials.  Instead, it concentrates on reports concerning the use of money in politics, and provides contacts for information on the election process.

When identifying what type of disclosure is available at a specific office, the Directory uses several broad categories which are listed below.  These categories have been applied to all the states.

Because state law varies widely (in the level of reporting, the frequency of filing, and the content of the reports), the researcher may find that the value of the data disclosed differs from state to state.

Types of Information

Candidates on Ballot

This notation indicates the office which maintains a list of those who have filed for office and those officially on the ballot.  In some cases, persons may have taken earlier steps which indicate candidacy (such as filing a statement of candidacy or campaign finance report, or making a public announcement).

Campaign Finance Reports

State:  This category includes reports filed by a variety of candidates or officeholders, political parties, political action committees, special interest committees, political committees, contributors, unions, corporations, and other filers.

Federal:  This category includes reports filed by a variety of candidates or officeholders, political parties, political action committees, special interest committees, political committees, contributors, unions, corporations, and other filers.  Where "online" is specified, the office is a participant in the Commission's State Filing Waiver Program and provides for public review and printing of federal reports through online electronic access to the Federal Election Commission.   Otherwise, disclosure is provided by duplicate paper filings submitted to the state.

Corporate Registration

This category includes registrations and/or reports from public, domestic, foreign or non-profit corporations, charitable organizations, or professional fundraisers.

Election Results

This notation indicates the office which maintains the vote results on a statewide basis.  Because elections are controlled at the local, municipal or county level in many states, the results may not reach this office immediately after the election.

Electronic Filings

This notation indicates that the office currently receives, and makes available on the Internet, filings submitted electronically.  The method of transmission to the office may be via computer disk, a direct modem connection or the Internet.

Lobbying

This category includes reports from lobbyists, employers of lobbyists, clients, or contributions of lobbyists to campaigns.

Other Court Actions

This notation indicates other state officials who may handle or assist in prosecutorial actions or constitutional challenges of state laws.  In some states, agencies may divide or share certain authority in the areas of hearings, fines, subpoena of witnesses, civil penalties, criminal penalties, etc.

Personal Finance Reports

State:  This category includes Ethics Act filings, conflict of interest reports, personal wealth statements, outside employment and outside income reports, and statements of substantial interest.

Federal:  The office listed receives, from the Secretary of the U.S. Senate and the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, reports filed by Members and candidates under Title I of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

Public Financing

This category includes only reports which are available to the public.  These generally involve matching fund requests or reports on disbursement of public fund grants.

Spending on Initiatives/Referendums

This category includes reports from entities spending and/or collecting funds for ballot questions, public questions, ballot issues, initiatives, referendums, and propositions.

Voting Accessibility

This notation indicates the state level office which handles implementation of portions of the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (PL-98-435).  This primarily relates to the accessibility of polling places.


Corrections, Deletions, Additions

Anyone with information that would improve the Directory should contact Eileen J. Leamon, Deputy Assistant Staff Director for Disclosure, Federal Election Commission, Washington, D.C. 20463.  202/694-1120 or 800/424-9530, option 2 (toll free), 202/501-0693 (FAX), eleamon@fec.gov (e-mail).

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