Why This Site?

This site is not a source for "official data" as filed with the Cal-Access system of the Secretary of State of California. If you want the "official data", please go to the Cal-Access site itself. The data provided on this site is, as they say, intended for entertainment purposes only. Anything seen on this site should be confirmed by going to the "official data".

Importantly, the Secretary of State's office will provide no support for anything seen on this site. If you have any questions about any of this data, find the relevant record or records in the Cal-Access system itself and ask your questions relative to only that data. While the creators of this resource strive to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the creators make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of this site, and expressly disclaim liability for errors and omissions in the contents of this site.

So, what is the "official data"? California's Government Code, Section 84602 says:

84602. To implement the Legislature's intent, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Commission, notwithstanding any other provision of this code, shall do all of the following:

(d) Make all the data filed available on the Internet in an easily understood format that provides the greatest public access. The data shall be made available free of charge and as soon as possible after receipt. All late contribution and late independent expenditure reports, as defined by Sections 84203 and 84204, respectively, shall be made available on the Internet within 24 hours of receipt.

-- as downloaded on February 28, 2014.

The data that is made available through the Cal-Access by the Secretary of State pursuant to this section of code is what I am calling the "official data".

Given this, you may ask what this site is providing. Since this is not the "official data", there are corrections that can be made to the data. For example, there are addresses in the data where someone said they live in "Oatland" or in "Los Angelex". One might see that there is an obvious fix to be made to the data, but the Secretary of State's office accepted the data from the filers. Since the filer said they live in "Oatland" and the software did not reject the filing when it was made, the "official data" says "Oatland" and nobody can change it. The filer can amend it, but all amendments to the filings stay in the database, so the first filing is still there and so it must be kept there for at least 10 years. But since this website is not a source for the "official data", it can be corrected. If anyone gets upset because we changed the city from "Oatland" to "Oakland", they can see the disclaimer in the first paragraph above. One also finds filed data where a last name is "Bob Smith" and a first name is "". Again, there is an obvious fix to the data, but the SoS will not make this change. The creators of this website may correct errors like this.

There are fixes we will not make. We are trying to fix the data to make it correct as it relates to the real world, even if we cannot make it correct relative to the legal world. If we are not reasonably sure a change is correct, we will not make the change, tempting though it may be. Of course, as stated above, this is not a guarantee that we will never make mistakes. Please let us know if you have any questions or see something that you believe to be incorrect.

The question of identity

It can be complicated to find all records associated with some person using the "official data". There is a reason for this. Say that a 460 is filed. Part of the data from this form is put into a "cvr_campaign_disclosure" table. This includes columns like "filer_naml", "filer_namf" (for a filer's last and first name), "tres_naml", "tres_namf" (for a treasurer), "cand_naml", and "cand_namf" (for a candidate). Say a candidate is filing for him or herself and is also the treasurer. It is legal and proper to include data which says:

  • filer_naml: "Smith"
  • filer_namf: "Robert"
  • tres_naml: "Bob Smith"
  • tres_namf: ""
  • cand_naml: "Smith"
  • cand_namf: "R. Leland"

So, one can see that these three forms of the name may represent the same person. Of course, one cannot be sure of this. And, assuming these are names for one person, there is no way to construct a search which would find all of these names. Yet, filing in this way is completely legal. Most database systems would resolve these ambiguities by creating a key for the filer, the candidate, and the treasurer. And there is a "filer_id". And there is a "cand_id", but it seems to be filled out 2.3% of the time when the form is a 460. But I am not sure of exactly when one is required to include a "cand_id" value. Perhaps it is there as a suggestion and there is no violation of any rules when one does not include it. And there is no "tres_id" anywhere in the system.