CAL-ACCESS FAQs Section 1 Question 1

How do I find information in Cal-Access about a candidate's or an elected official's campaign finances?

The "Candidates & Elected Officials" campaign finance page is the starting point to find out basic information regarding a state candidate's or state elected official's campaign finances. To obtain this information, do the following:

  1. Go to the "Campaign Finance" page. (You may also reach this site from the Secretary of State's Home Page - by clicking on "Campaign Finance" under "Political Reform.")

  2. Click on "Candidates & Elected Officials." This will bring up the "Candidates & Elected Officials" page. Various options will be displayed, but some will already be selected by default. For example, under "Choose a Listing:," "Certified Election Candidates" has been selected by default. Under "Choose an Election," the name of the next state election has been selected by default. Under these default selections, a list of certified candidates for the next state election, if any have been certif, will be displayed.

  3. You can make selections other than the default selections. Review the menu options and make your selections by pointing and clicking on the "radio buttons." Note that several seconds may be required for your selection to be processed and for the information to be displayed. If nothing seems to be happening after you point and click on a selection, wait a few seconds and the request is likely to be processed and the information requested will be displayed.

  4. Once you have made your selections, under "Choose a Listing" and "Choose an Election," the names of candidates or elected officials will appear. If you click on the name of a candidate or elected official whose name is underlined, information about that candidate will be displayed.

  5. Once the candidate's or elected official's campaign finance information is displayed, you can select the election cycle in which you are interested with respect to that particular candidate or elected official. By default, the current election cycle will ordinarily be selected. To choose a prior election cycle, select "Prior Years." Prior election cycles will be displayed from which you can make a selection, assuming that they apply to this candidate or elected official.

  6. Under "View Information," "General Information," the first "radio button," has been selected by default. Under "General Information," the following information will be displayed with respect to the candidate or elected official:

    1. Party The political party with which the candidate or elected official is or was affiliated;

    2. Election/Spending Limits The election with which the candidate or elected official is associated along with whether the candidate or elected official accepted the voluntary spending limits;

    3. Races-Office/Election/Results The election contests with which this candidate or elected official has been associated since January 1, 2000, and whether he or she won or lost;

    4. CommitteesThe committee or committees which the candidate or elected official controls or has controlled and basic information about each committee. (The candidate or elected official raises and spends money for campaign purposes through his or her controlled committee or committees.) The basic information about the committee that is displayed includes:
      • The committee's name;
      • The identification number assigned by the Secretary of State;
      • The current status of the committee (active or terminated);
      • The date filed, the reporting period, the contributions received, the expenditures made, and ending cash disclosed in the last report filed.

      By clicking on the committee name, the committee's campaign finance page will be displayed. For more information about interpreting the information displayed on a recipient committee's campaign finance page in Cal-Access, see the answer to Question 5. Viewing a committee's campaign finance page is the way to find information about contributors, expenditures and other campaign finance data concerning the committee.

  7. Independent Expenditures - The second "radio button" under "View Information" on the candidate's and elected official's campaign finance page is "Late Independent Expenditures Affecting This Candidate." (To find the candidate's and elected official's campaign finance page, see above paragraphs or go to the "Campaign Finance" page. Click on "Candidates & Elected Officials." Select the candidate or elected official in whom you are interested.) By clicking on the "Late Independent Expenditures Affecting This Candidate" button, information relative to "independent expenditures" affecting the candidate will be displayed. For more information regarding this selection, including the option of using "Advanced Search" for a wider search and more complete information, see the answer to Question 8.

Note: References in Cal-Access to "late" with respect to contributions or independent expenditures may not refer to contributions made or received or independent expenditures made during the normal late contribution and late independent expenditure periods (within the 16 days prior to an election.) (Government Code sections 82036, 82036.5, 84203, and 84204) This is because disclosure of some contributions or independent expenditures online or electronically utilizes multi-purpose Forms 496 and 497 and the disclosed contributions or independent expenditures may relate to transactions occurring other than during the late contribution and late independent expenditure periods. (Government Code sections 84204.5, 85309, and 85500)