Rule Makes State Campaign Reports Available Online

Sunday, October 1st 2006, 12:54 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An online system will provide Oklahoma voters added insight into who is bankrolling candidates in this year's general election.

For the first time in state history, the Oklahoma Ethics Commission will post pre-election campaign reports on its Web site so voters can view them before heading to the polls.

A new rule, which survived legislative attempts to delay it each of the past two years, requires candidates and political groups to file electronic reports by Oct. 30 showing contributions and expenses through Oct. 23. From Oct. 24 through election day on Nov. 7, candidates receiving last-minute contributions of at least $500 are to file daily reports online.

``There are political junkies that hang on every word that comes from the media and every poll; it's a spectator sport for a lot of people,'' said Ethics Commission Chairman John Raley of Ponca City. ``I think most people wait until the last few days before the election.

``The electronic filing can at least let people know which legislators are getting support from whom,'' he said.

Since July 1, candidates and political groups exceeding $20,000 in contributions or expenditures are required to file quarterly and pre-election reports electronically. The submitted reports _ from about 460 candidates and 350 political action committees _ are posted on the Ethics Commission's Web site automatically and are available for viewing almost immediately.

The latest campaign information now on the Ethics Commission's Web site is information reported as of Aug. 7. The next reports are due Oct. 30.

Before the rule took effect, candidates and political action committees filed paper reports. Voters who wanted to see the reports had to go to the Ethics Commission's office in the state Capitol.

Now, interested Oklahomans can use the campaign reports for many tasks, such as looking for names of contributors. Advanced users may download raw data and conduct their own research.