inewsource has updated its San Diego County campaign finance database to capture the most recent fundraising and spending by politicians, ballot measure groups and political action committees in the county.
Why this matters
Voters can use campaign finance data to see who is funding the efforts of political candidates or groups that support or oppose ballot measures. Voters also can use the data to see how the candidates and ballot measure groups are spending the money they raise.
The searchable database now includes all transactions through July 31, gathered from campaign finance reports filed electronically with the county registrar’s office.
Before inewsource launched its database in April, those interested in exploring the money in San Diego County politics could rely on the county’s complicated online portal. Our tool allows people to easily access the information and search through all of the records going back to January 2017.
The database not only includes contributions to campaigns, but also debts, loans and spending.
The newly updated data covers the eight weeks since the June 5 primary, providing insights into how candidates are preparing for the November general election. The candidates in the 4th District supervisor race — Republican Bonnie Dumanis and Democrat Nathan Fletcher — have gotten donations from well-known city, county and state lawmakers during that time.
The database also shows the financial activity of other candidates who didn’t succeed in the primary. Some, like district attorney candidate Genevieve Jones-Wright, have closed their campaign committees. Others have kept them open to pay off debts or potentially to run again for office.
Candidates you can search for include those who have run for county sheriff, district attorney and Board of Supervisors seats, plus some candidates for school boards and water boards. One option is to filter by contributions and search for candidates by their names to return a list of the most recent donors to the campaigns.
You can also search for groups supporting or opposing county ballot measures, candidates or other causes in San Diego County. These political action committees can represent nonprofits, labor unions or others. PACs can spend unlimited amounts of money supporting or opposing candidates, so long as they don’t coordinate with the candidates’ campaigns.
Some county-level PACs you can search for in the inewsource database include the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, the Association of Cannabis Professionals PAC and the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee. You can try typing their names into the “Candidate/Committee” box to look through their transactions.
Here are some details from the database:
- Four San Diego Gas & Electric executives donated to Fletcher on June 1.
- GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox gave San Diego County’s Lincoln Club almost $1,000 on June 28.
- The San Diego Restaurant and Beverage PAC gave $5,000 to the county Republican Party on May 21.
- A PAC sponsored by the Association of Cannabis Professionals spent $6,000 on “community engagement resources” on June 29.
- The California Wildlife Foundation gave $25,000 to the Safeguard our San Diego Countryside PAC on June 22.
- The California Correctional Peace Officers Association gave $100,000 to the San Diegans Against Crime PAC on May 21 and another $50,000 on June 4, the day before the primary. The PAC was supporting Summer Stephan and opposing Jones-Wright for county district attorney.
Campaigns that have raised less than $10,000 do not have to e-file their reports — they can submit paper copies — so they don’t appear in the database. For more details on what’s included in the database, click here.
inewsource will regularly update the county campaign finance data throughout the election season.
If you have feedback or find anything interesting in the data, you can share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll let you know when big things happen.