CAL-ACCESS FAQs Section 1 Question 5

How do I interpret information in Cal-Access regarding a state recipient committee's campaign finance page?

A state recipient committee's campaign finance page can be found by following the links under "Candidates and Elected Officials," "Measures & Propositions," or "Committees, Parties & Major Donors" on the "Campaign Finance" page. (You may also reach the "Campaign Finance" page from the Secretary of State's Home Page - by clicking on "Campaign Finance" under "Political Reform.")

The committee's initial finance page displayed in Cal-Access will be information for the current election cycle and will include general information. The following will be displayed:

  1. Committee Name The name of the committee as reflected by the records of the Secretary of State.
  2. Election Cycle Under "Election Cycle," the current election cycle has been selected by default. You may choose a prior election cycle by selecting "Historical." Prior election cycles will be displayed back to 1999-2000. (Since electronic filing did not begin until January 1, 2000, no electronic reports were filed in 1999.) Select the election cycle in which you are interested. For these purposes, "election cycle" means a two-year period beginning with January 1 of an "odd-numbered year" and ending on December 31 of the following "even-numbered year." For example, January 1, 2003 through D cember 31, 2004, is an "election cycle."
  3. View Information
    1. "General Information" will have been selected by default. The page will display:
      1. Historical Names for this Committee If the committee has any prior names, the names will be displayed.
      2. Filer ID The "Filer ID" is the unique identification number assigned by the Secretary of State.
      3. Filer Phone The "Filer Phone" is the telephone number of the committee as provided by the filer. The Secretary of State does not confirm that the number provided is the current or correct number.
      4. Summary Information The "Summary Information" will include the committee's current status, the date the last regular report was filed during the selected election cycle, the reporting period for the report, the total amount of contributions received during the period, the total amount of contributions received during the calendar year, the total amount of expenditures made during the period, the total amount of expenditures made during the calendar year, and the amount of ending cash at the close of the period covered by the report. These figures are ordinarily derived from the Form 450 or Form 460 filed by the committee for the period indicated. NOTE: THESE FIGURES DO NOT INCLUDE CONTRIBUTIONS OR EXPENDITURES RECEIVED OR MADE SINCE THE CLOSING DATE OF THE PERIOD INDICATED. IN ORDER TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS THAT MAY HAVE BEEN RECEIVED SINCE THE CLOSING DATE OF THE PERIOD INDICATED, SELECTING OTHER DISPLAY CHOICES AS DISCUSSED BELOW MAY BE HELPFUL.

      There are several other choices under "View Information." Click on the choice you prefer as described below. Note that it may take a few seconds for the system to display the requested information.
    2. Contributions Received By clicking on this choice, information regarding the contributions received, as reported on Form 460, will be displayed. The display is by "Contribution Type." The choices of type from which you may select are: "All Contributions (default)," "Loan Contributions," "Monetary Contributions," and "Non-Monetary Contributions." The display will include the name of the contributor, the payment type, (loans, monetary or non-monetary), the city, state, and ZIP code of the contributor, the ID Number (if any) of the contributor, the employer of the contributor (if disclosed), the occupation of the contributor (if disclosed), the amount of the contribution, the date the contribution was received as reported on the statement filed, the date the statement was filed, and the transaction number assigned by the Secretary of State. By clicking on the link, the information can be downloaded into a Microsoft Excel sheet and sorted. NOTE THAT THE CONTRIBUTIONS DISPLAYED DO NOT INCLUDE CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED AFTER THE CLOSING DATE FOR THE PERIOD INDICATED.
    3. Contributions Made By clicking on this choice, information regarding the contributions made, as reported on Form 450 or Form 460, will be displayed. The display will include the date of the contribution, the name of the entity receiving it, the "contest" (if any), whether it is "in support" or "in opposition," the payment type, (monetary or non-monetary), and the amount of the contribution. By clicking on the link, the information can be downloaded into a Microsoft Excel sheet and sorted. NOTE THAT THE CONTRIBUTIONS DISPLAYED DO NOT INCLUDE CONTRIBUTIONS MADE AFTER THE CLOSING DATE FOR THE PERIOD INDICATED.
    4. Expenditures Made By clicking on this choice, information regarding the expenditures made, as reported on Form 450 or Form 460, will be displayed. The display will include the date of the expenditure (if provided by the filer), the name of the payee, an expenditure code or description of the payment, and the amount of the payment. By clicking on the link, the information can be downloaded into a Microsoft Excel sheet and sorted. NOTE THAT THE EXPENDITURES DISPLAYED DO NOT INCLUDE EXPENDITURES MADE AFTER THE CLOSING DATE FOR THE PERIOD INDICATED.
    5. Late and $5000+ Contributions Received By clicking on this choice, information regarding significant contributions received are displayed. Contributions of $1,000 or more received by a state candidate-controlled committee or a committee formed primarily to support or oppose a state ballot measure must be reported online or electronically with the Secretary of State within 24 hours, provided that the contribution is received within 90 days before the election (election cycle) and the filer or committee is an online or electronic filer. Contributions of $1,000 or more received by a political party or county central committee during the 16 days before any state election must be filed online or electronically within 24 hours, provided that the political party or county central committee is an online or electronic filer. In addition, if a contribution of $5,000 or more is received by a state candidate committee or a state ballot measure committee that files online or electronically at any time other than the 90-day election cycle, the report must be filed online or electronically with the Secretary of State within 10 business days. These contributions are reported on Form 497. They are then included in the Form 460 filed for the regular period covering the time in which the contributions were received. (Government Code sections 84203, 85309 and 84605)
    6. Late Contributions Made By clicking on this choice, information regarding contributions of $1,000 or more made to a state candidate-controlled committee, a political party committee, or a committee formed primarily to support or oppose a state ballot measure, since the second pre-election statement was filed, is displayed. These contributions must be reported online or electronically with the Secretary of State within 24 hours of making the contribution if the committee making the contribution is an online or electronic filer. (Government Code sections 84203 and 84605) In addition, a recipient committee that makes contributions of $5,000 or more to support or oppose the qualification or passage of a single state ballot measure must report the contribution online or electronically to the Secretary of State within 10 business days provided that the committee making the contribution is an online or electronic filer, and the contribution occurs at any time other than the 16 days immediately preceding a state election. (Government Code sections 84204.5 and 84605) These reports are made on Form 497. They are then included on Forms 450 or 460 for the regular period covering the time in which the contributions were made.
    7. Late Independent Expenditures By clicking on this choice, information is displayed regarding significant independent expenditures made with respect to a state candidate or a state ballot measure during the 90 days immediately preceding any state election, including the date of the election, is displayed. Independent expenditures of $1,000 or more made during such an election cycle must be reported online or electronically with the Secretary of State within 24 hours provided that the committee making the independent expenditure is an online or electronic filer. (Government Code sections 84204, 84605 and 85500) In addition, a recipient committee that makes independent expenditures of $5,000 or more at any time other than the 90-day election cycle to support or oppose the qualification or passage of a single state ballot measure must report the independent expenditure online or electronically to the Secretary of State within 10 business days. These reports are made on Form 496. The independent expenditures are then included on Forms 450 or 460 for the regular period covering the time in which the independent expenditures were made. (Government Code sections 84204.5 and 84605)
    8. Electronic Filings By clicking on this choice, a list of "electronic filings" is displayed. The list includes the name and number of the form that was filed, the filing period of the statement or report, the date and time it was filed, the number assigned by the Secretary of State to the filing, and the type of filing. By clicking on the link, a PDF version of the online/electronically filed document can be viewed. This version may be printed.
  4. Sorting Note that contribution, expenditure, and other data can be sorted by clicking on the category desired. For example, from pages itemizing contributions, double click on "Name of Contributor" to alphabetically sort the contributors by name. Double click on "City" to alphabetically sort by city. (Note that once you have sorted by one category, it is sometimes necessary to double click twice before a second category will sort.)
  5. Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet Note that contributor, expenditure and other data can be downloaded into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet from pages itemizing contribution and expenditure information. Click on the "DOWNLOAD THESE RESULTS: MICROSOFT EXCEL" prompt.
  6. EXAMPLE: Let's assume you want to examine the contributions made to or the expenditures of the incumbent governor. On the "Campaign Finance: Candidates & Elected Officials" page, select "Incumbent Elected State Officials." This will bring up a listing of current incumbent state officeholders. Click on the link for "Governor, [Name of Incumbent]." The request may take a few seconds to process. This will bring up a list of political committees controlled by Governor [Name of Incumbent] including committees active in prior years.
    • Let's assume you want information regarding a particular committee controlled by the Governor. Click on the link of the committee in which you're interested. This will bring up a page with numerous options, including an election cycle option. The election cycle option you choose will determine the timeframe of your search results. The data is provided in two-year election cycles, so if you select the 2007-2008 election cycle, you will get results for that time period.
    • By selecting "Contributions Received," you will get a list of all itemized contributions received by this committee for the election cycle you have chosen. If you select "Expenditures Made," you will get a list of expenditures made by the committee in the election cycle you have chosen. (Note that "Contributions Received" or "Expenditures Made" include only those reported online or electronically to the Secretary of State for the period indicated.)
    • Once the search is completed, you can click on any column heading to sort the results or you can download your results into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
    • This data is ordinarily derived from the candidate or officeholder's Form 460 - Recipient Committee Campaign Statement. The most recent contributions to state candidates, state elected officials and to state ballot measure committees could be reported in the "Late and $5000+ Contributions Received" category. This data comes from Form 497 contribution reports filed by the candidate or officeholder. These contributions are eventually reported on Form 460 so you will need to pay special attention to the date the contributions were received to avoid duplicating data.
    • If you want to see a copy of the information filed in a statement or report in a printable PDF format, select "Electronic Filings" in the "View Information" section. The request will take a few seconds to process. This page will show you all the electronic or online filings submitted by the candidate's committee. Click on the link of the statement or report you wish to see. That statement or report will appear and can be printed. Select the pages you want on the print menu. Note that the law prohibits the display of street addresses. (See answer to Question 13)

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)