Salt Lake City — How much love is your legislator getting? The non-partisan ABU Education Fund launched Version 2.0 of its “Follow-the-Money” disclosure database today to help Utahns answer that question this Valentine’s Day.
The improved campaign disclosure website, which can be found at http://abueducationfund.org/followthemoney/, now features a streamlined search function, the latest statewide candidate filings, and a new design that makes viewing and researching on smartphones much easier. And it should make holding Utah’s elected officials accountable even easier.
“Utah political financial disclosure has always been available on the Lt. Governor’s website,” said Joshua Kanter, executive director of the ABU Education Fund. “But you have to know what you are looking for, wade through dozens of different reports, and there is no capacity to search across donors, years and candidates. Our database will save people time and the typical frustration that comes with searching through the individual disclosures and trying to compile those results.”
But it is important to note that the data is only as good as the as the campaign finance laws currently in place in Utah, said Kanter. In the aftermath of the John Swallow scandal, several legislators have opened bill files that would place limits on campaign contributions and would improve disclosure requirements.
“Campaign finance laws, despite their overwhelming support by most ethics groups and voters, continue to face an uphill battle in Utah, one of only four states without campaign contribution limits,” said Kanter. “This database might not impact the passage of those laws, but it will make it easier for insiders and the general public alike to follow the money.”
The new database features a single search function in place of the multiple search options that previously made the database more complicated to search. Users now have the ability to search across multiple tables, contributions and expenditures with a single search term. And, with smartphone optimization, users can search for information just about anywhere they are.
“More and more people are turning to their smartphones for information about their elected leaders,” said Pat Thompson, the website’s designer. “Journalists and activists who might not have access to a laptop during committee meetings and interviews will find the improved smartphone functioning especially useful.”
Executive Director, ABU Education Fund
435-287-4228 | firstname.lastname@example.org