Frequently Asked Questions

About Power Search and CAL-ACCESS

What Power Search Can Do For You

Power Search provides quick and easy access to the source, recipient and amount of state campaign contributions and access to independent expenditures data. Campaign contribution searches provide useful summaries of information at the contributor, candidate, ballot measure and campaign committee levels with options for sorting and further exploring the data. The campaign contribution Quick Search function allows for broad searches, while Advanced Search allows for more refined searches. Independent Expenditures Search provide data on campaign spending that are not direct contributions to state candidates or statewide ballot measure committees; this money is spent to support or oppose state candidates or statewide ballot measures by individuals or campaign committees that are not directly communicating or coordinating their efforts with candidate-sponsored committees or designated ballot measure committees.

Power Search data is refreshed each business day from the CAL-ACCESS data download. opens new window

Only electronically reported, state-level campaign data is provided through Power Search. The results of Power Search may be limited by the quality of the data provided by filers.

The Power Search website works best when using Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 9.0 or higher, Opera 10 or higher, or the latest version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari. If you are using an older version of any of these browsers, you may need to upgrade to the latest version. To upgrade your browser, go to browsehappy.com. opens new window

What CAL-ACCESS Can Do For You

Other Searches

Glossary of Reoccurring Terms in Power Search


  • Recipient Name: name of the candidate associated with the committee (applies only to candidate committees).
  • Recipient Committee: name of the committee receiving the contribution.
  • Recipient Committee ID: the committee ID# of the recipient committee.
  • Office Sought: the office sought by a particular candidate (applies only to candidate committees). Note that this field may contain the office held by a particular candidate if he/she filled out the form as such.
  • Ballot Measure(s): name(s) of the ballot measure(s) and the position taken on them (supported or opposed) by a particular recipient committee. Note that one contribution to a multi-measure committee will show each measure supported or opposed by that committee.
  • Contributor Name: the name of the contributor as provided by the recipient committee in their filings.
  • Contributor ID: the official committee ID# of the contributor (if it exists and is reported), as provided by the recipient committee.
  • Amount: the amount of the contribution.
  • Date: the date on which the contribution was received.
  • Contributor Employer: the employer of the contributor usually applies only to individuals/employees.
  • Contributor Occupation: the occupation of the contributor, usually applies only to individuals/employees.
  • Contributor State: the state in which the contributor is situated.
  • District: the district in which a candidate is running (applies only to candidates for State Senate and Assembly).
  • Contributor Zip Code: the zip code in which the contributor is situated.
  • Contributor City: the city in which the contributor is situated.
  • Transaction Type: the type of contribution; can be a monetary contribution, non-monetary contribution, or a loan.
  • Election: the specific election date for which the candidate or measure will be on the ballot.
  • Lobbyist: a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest.
  • Cycle: The First Year (odd) of the two-year period in which the contribution is made . For example, the 2013 cycle is 2013-2014 period.
  • Lobbying: actions directed to influence the public administration in order to promote favorable decisions from a sector of society’s interests.

For other campaign finance information such as a list of relevant statutes and regulations, a table of forms, and other useful websites, please see the CAL-ACCESS User's Manual. opens new window

Note: These FAQs are not a substitute for legal advice. For information regarding compliance with the Political Reform Act, consult with legal counsel and/or visit the Fair Political Practices Commission opens new window website.