Today the California Voter Foundation released Grading State Disclosure 2007, a comprehensive, nationwide study of states' campaign finance disclosure programs. 36 states received passing grades and 14 failed in this year's assessment. 21 states' grades improved since 2005, the last time the Grading State Disclosure study was conducted.
Among the most significant findings, 40 states now permit campaigns to file disclosure reports electronically; of these, 30 require electronic filing by statewide candidates, and 23 of those states also require legislative candidates to file their reports electronically. Having campaign data arrive in a digital format enables disclosure agencies to place it on the Internet where it can be accessed immediately by the public. The study found that 90 percent of states that operate electronic filing programs also provide searchable, online databases of campaign contributions; among states with no electronic filing program, only 40 percent offer searchable, online contribution databases.
The assessment was conducted by the Campaign Disclosure Project, which seeks to bring greater transparency and accountability to money in state politics. The project is a collaboration of the California Voter Foundation, the Center for Governmental Studies and the UCLA School of Law and is supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts. For more details, see today's news release.