Blog Post

In San Francisco, discovering top campaign contributors just got easier

This post co-authored with the San Francisco Elections Commission

Follow the Money in the November 3, 2020 San Francisco local election

Understanding the trail of campaign finances often invokes images of the intrepid reporter in the dark of night meeting with an informant on deep background to glean clues about how to follow the money. But with powerful new tools for public disclosure, these shadowy meetings are a scene for old movies. For the past two decades, San Francisco has trailblazed the push towards electronic reporting of campaign finance disclosure statements in local election contests, making contribution and expenditure data easily accessible online to the public.

As part of this effort, DataSF and the San Francisco Ethics Commission began collaborating in 2012 to provide public access to campaign finance disclosure records as open data. These open datasets detail the money raised and spent by campaign committees seeking to influence San Francisco elections.

Today, we’re taking this a step further to make campaign finance research for the November 3, 2020 election even easier to search and explore on the open data portal. We’re pleased to announce the release of a new campaign finance search and data visualization tool as part of expanded open data portal functionality. This new tool allows users to visually explore contributions to candidate and ballot measure campaigns in San Francisco using an intuitive and easy to use interface.

Screenshot of interactive campaign finance app

Use the tool’s search field to enter a candidate and ballot measure name and watch as it automatically aggregates contributions to their campaign and identifies top contributors. Enter up to three candidates or ballot measures to compare fundraising totals and top contributors. Use the map to view geographic locations of contributions or graph the fundraising totals over time.

Check out the new campaign finance tool and explore the source of money for candidates and ballot measures in the November 3, 2020 election.

You can also explore more campaign finance datasets by searching on DataSF, conduct advanced research using the San Francisco Ethics Commission’s Campaign Finance Dashboards, and learn more about campaign finance disclosure at the Ethics Commission’s website.