CAL-ACCESS FAQs Section 1 Question 10

How do I find out who has made or received contributions or who has made independent expenditures with respect to state candidates, committees, or measures during a specified period of time?

Begin by clicking on the "Advanced Search" link located in the upper left-hand portion of almost any Cal-Access menu page. (Note that if you place your cursor on "Advanced Search," the link will disappear, but click on it anyway.) This will bring up the "California Filings Searchable Database" page.

  1. Contributions Received
    1. If you want to find out who has received contributions of a specified range of amounts during a specified period of time based on online or electronic filings of Forms 497, click on "Received" under "Late Contributions" under "Campaign" on the left-hand side of the page. (Don't be misled by the word "Late" in the subtitle. The data for the most part includes all contribution data filed online/electronically on Form 497 since January 1, 2000.) (A similar search can be conducted with respect to information reported on Forms 460 by clicking on the "Who's Receiving" link and subsequent links on the "California Filings Searchable Database" page.) To view descriptions of Form 497 and 460, visit the Campaign Disclosure Forms page.
    2. This will bring up a page where you can enter ranges for "Date of Contribution" and "Contribution Amount." Enter dates and the contribution amounts in the format specified (e.g., 06/29/2007 and 999,999,999). Be sure to include the "commas" with respect to the contribution amounts. Note that a "maximum" amount need not be specified. Click on "Search" near the bottom of the page. It may take several seconds for your request to be processed. If nothing seems to happen when you click on "Search," wait a few seconds and the request is likely to be processed and the requested information will be displayed.
    3. Once the information is displayed, you can click on committee links to obtain more details regarding particular contributions.
    4. EXAMPLE: Suppose you want to find out which state candidates or committees have received contributions of $500,000 or more during the month of August in 2007. Click on "Advanced Search" from almost any Cal-Access menu page. On the "California Filings Searchable Database" page, click on "Received" under "Late Contributions" under "Campaign" on the left-hand side of the page. In the "Date of Contribution" fields (From ______To ______), enter "08/01/2007" and "08/31/2007. In the "Contribution Amount" fields (Min. ______ Max. ______), insert "500,000" in the "Min." field. Click on "Search" at the bottom of the page. After a few seconds, the information will be presented. You can click on any contributor link to find out more information about either the contributor or the recipient.
  2. Contributions Made If you want to find out who has made contributions of a specified range of amounts during a specified period of time to state based on Form 497 filings, click on "Made" under "Late Contributions" under "Campaign" on the left-hand side of the page. (Don't be misled by the word "Late" in the subtitle. The data for the most part includes all contribution data filed online/electronically on Forms 497 since January 1, 2000.) (A similar search can be conducted with respect to information reported on Forms 460 by clicking on the "Who's Giving" link and subsequent links on the "California Filings Searchable Database" page. Visit the Campaign Disclosure Forms page to view descriptions of Form 497 and 460.)
    1. This will bring up a page where you can enter ranges for "Date Made" and "Amount of Contribution."
    2. Enter dates and the contribution amounts in the format specified (e.g., 06/29/2007 and 999,999,999). Be sure to include the "commas" with respect to the contribution amounts. Note that a "maximum" amount need not be specified. Click on "Search" near the bottom of the page. It may take many seconds for your request to be processed. If nothing seems to happen when you click on "Search," wait a few seconds and the request is likely to be processed and the requested information will be displayed.
    3. Once the information is displayed, you can click on committee links to obtain more details regarding particular contributions.
    4. EXAMPLE: Suppose you want to find out who has made contributions of $500,000 or more to one or more state candidates or committees during the month of August in 2007. Click on "Advanced Search" from almost any Cal-Access menu page. On the "California Filings Searchable Database" page, click on "Made" under "Late Contributions" under "Campaign" on the left-hand side of the page. In the "Date Made" fields (From ______To ______), enter "08/01/2007" and "08/31/2007.) In the "Amount of Contribution" fields (Min. ______ Max. ______), insert "500,000" in the "Min." field. Click on "Search" at the bottom of the page. After a few seconds, the information will be presented. You can click on any contributor link to find out more information about either the contributor or the recipient.
  3. Independent Expenditures Made If you want to find out who has made independent expenditures of a specified range of amounts during a specified period of time based on the filings of Forms 496, click on "Late Independent Expenditures" under "Expenditures" under "Campaign" on the left-hand side of the page.
    1. This will bring up a page where you can enter ranges for "Date Expenditure Made" and "Amount of Expenditure Made."
    2. Enter dates and the expenditure amounts in the format specified (e.g., 06/29/2007 and 999,999,999). Be sure to include the "commas" with respect to the expenditure amounts. Note that a "maximum" amount need not be specified. Click on "Search" near the bottom of the page. It may take many seconds for your request to be processed. If nothing seems to happen when you click on "Search," wait a few seconds and the request is likely to be processed and the requested information will be displayed.
    3. Once the information is displayed, you can click on committee links to obtain more details regarding particular expenditures.
    4. EXAMPLE: Suppose you want to find out who has made independent expenditures of $100,000 or more regarding one or more state candidates or measure committees during the month of October in 2006. Click on "Advanced Search" from any Cal-Access menu page. On the "California Filings Searchable Database" page, click on "Late Independent Expenditures" under "Expenditures" under "Campaign" on the left-hand side of the page. In the "Date Expenditure Made" fields (From ______To ______), enter "10/01/2006" and "10/31/2006.) In the "Amount of Expenditure Made" fields (Min. ______ Max. ______), insert "100,000" in the "Min." field. Click on "Search" at the bottom of the page. After a few seconds, the information will be presented. You can click on the links to find more information regarding the independent expenditures.
  4. ALTERNATIVE METHOD - "Daily/Late/Special Filings" An alternative method of determining who has received or made contributions or made independent expenditures with respect to state candidates or committees is to review "Daily/Late/Special Filings." This review will indicate what has been filed online or electronically on any specified day, including Forms 496 and 497 that disclose many major independent expenditures and contributions. To review "Daily/Late/Special Filings" posted on Cal-Access, go back to the "Campaign Finance" page. Click on "Daily/Late/Special Filings." You can choose among various options for viewing. Select the option desired and click on the link to learn more about specific filings and filers. You may click on "View PDF Image" to see an electronic image of the filing.
  5. Unsuccessful Searches If your "Advanced Search" is unsuccessful, the following message may be displayed: "Your search did not find any matching records." This could be because the contributor has not filed online or electronically. The data is available only with respect to online or electronic filings. This message could also be caused by an attempted search that is too broad. If your search is too broad, there will be more hits than the computer can display. Consequently, you may need to narrow your search by selecting a higher minimum dollar amount and/or a shorter filing period, such as a single month or year.

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)