Section 8: About the Data

What kinds of contributions are included in the summary totals and table?

    Power Search totals are calculated using

  • Itemized monetary contributions (over $100)
  • Unitemized monetary contributions (less than $100)
  • Loans received
  • Non-monetary contributions

What kinds of contributions are excluded from the summary totals provided by Power Search?

    Power Search excludes the following types of contributions

  • Forgiven loans
  • Transfers between one candidate's controlled committees

How can I find lobbying data on Power Search?

Power Search does not provide data on lobbying activity at this time.

Why is Power Search returning contributions on obviously incorrect dates, like the year 8201?

These dates are due to filer error. While Power Search searches the data provided in campaign contribution filings, it does not attempt to correct filer typos or other errors.

I can tell that a particular committee exists. Why does Power Search not have any data for it?

Power Search only provides committee data when that committee has received contributions and the committee has filed public disclosure reports electronically. Some committees have not yet received contributions or have not raised sufficient contributions to require electronic filing. These committees will not have associated records that are searchable through Power Search.

How does Power Search differentiate between organization and employee contributions?

Filers assign entity codes to individual contributions. These codes classify contributions as coming from individuals, committees, and other entities. Power Search uses these codes to designate certain contributors as employees (individuals) and others as organizations (both "other entities" and committees).

Why do I get different results when I search for a contributor name (like the California Association of User Manuals) than when I search for its committee ID# in the Contributors box?

These results will differ for two likely reasons: because Power Search examines recipient committee filings, it will only provide Contributor ID#s when that information was supplied in the original filing. Because providing a contributor ID# is not required in some cases or might be omitted from a report filed, a search using a contributor ID# may not find some contributions.

For example, Major Donor ID#s are not required to be reported by recipients on contribution reports. However, Major Donors are required to file campaign reports that disclose all the contributions they made. A list of Major Donors and access to Major Donor campaign reports is available through CAL-ACCESS opens new window.

In addition, one aspect of campaign finance reporting that makes finding exact matches difficult is variations in spelling. A recipient committee may report a contribution from the "CA Association of User Manuals" and another committee may report a contribution from the "Calif Assn of User Manuals." We encourage users to run several searches on all possible names to ensure more accurate results, and to cross reference reports filed by contributors in CAL-ACCESS using the committee ID# provided when necessary.

Why do some candidates have multiple names in the candidate search?

This is a product of how the candidate's names are spelled on CAL-ACCESS. To ensure all contributions to a single candidate are captured in one search, choose the spelling of the candidate's name that provides the broadest search (for example, the version without a suffix or middle initial).

Power Search provides information about contributions received by a ballot measure committee during the election cycle when the measure qualified for the ballot. How do I find out about contributions received by a ballot measure committee that may have formed before the measure qualified for the ballot?

California law requires a committee raising money and seeking to qualify a measure for the ballot to report that activity. To see all the activity of the committee, including contributions received before the measure qualified for the ballot, use the committee ID# as a search term by entering the ID# in the search box for "Contributions to...Committees" and choosing "All dates and election cycles" and clicking the search button. This will provide all available contribution information for the committee.

The committee has activity dating back many years. Does that mean all of the contributions received by this committee were used to support or oppose ballot measures on the same ballot?

No. California law allows a primarily-formed ballot measure committee to support or oppose measures in one election cycle, and then to remain active and support or oppose measures in subsequent election cycles. The information included in the Ballot Measures column of the results will explain which measure or measures the committee supported and when.

Additionally, the law requires the name of the committee to include the Proposition number or measure name supported or opposed by the committee. The name of the committee appearing in the Recipient Committee column of the results should include the name or number of the measures being supported or opposed.

To see the contributions to the committee relating to a specific ballot measure supported or opposed by the committee, use the committee ID# as a search term by entering the ID# in the search box for "Contributions to...Committees" and choosing the "election cycle" for just the period of time that a measure appeared on the ballot and clicking the search button.

This will provide contribution information for the committee during the time it supported or opposed measures appearing on the ballot during that election cycle.

Downloading all of the committee's historical information to an Excel spreadsheet by using the Download CSV button will also allow the user to sort the data, so that contributions received during a specific period and for specific ballot measures can be viewed.