Today, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced her plans to make the raw data behind California's lobbyists and campaign finance database available, online, on one spreadsheet available to the public and updated daily.
Secretary Bowen's announcement is a reversal from a position she has long held since Common Cause began asking for this disclosure in 2011. This could not have been possible without the pressures imposed from groups such as California Common Cause, Maplight, as well as the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee. Of course, Secretary Bowen deserves lots credit for listening to our coalition's concerns and ensuring this information is available to the public. Other state agencies should follow her in her footsteps and make public data, well, public.
"Great credit goes to Secretary Bowen for recognizing the importance of this data set," said Daniel G. Newman, Co-Founder and President of MapLight. "It's not just a small feature that she's adding"it's a great public access victory and a quantum leap forward for transparency."
Currently, the information is available on a CD-ROM upon request and for a $5 fee. This new disclosure will allow raw data to be made available 24 hours a day in a single spreadsheet. Raw data disclosures will allow the public to follow and keep track of money in politics, and for watchdog groups like ourselves, to more effectively hold the people in power more accountable.
Full list of coalition partners that made this happen: Common Cause, MapLight Around The Capitol, California Forward, California Newspaper Publishers Association, Courage Campaign, Global Exchange, Los Angeles Times, Rootstrikers, The Sacramento Bee, Sunlight Foundation, and Senator Leland Yee.