State 29 did a great job on this review of this editorial from the QC Times, almost certainly the best I've ever read on the subject of campaign finance disclosure. Read both of those.
Here's a case in point of the problem. Over the last week, we've been trying to find out specifics on the campaign contributions of Bill Knapp. Here's the website for the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. Once you get into the actual reports, here's the challenge.
Good luck finding Bill Knapp in part one of this three month Vilsack report from 2002, which is non-sortable, non alphabetical, and 601 pages long.
Part 2 is 395 pages long.
59 more pages from Culver's Sec. of State Campaign. These have an extra element of difficulty: they're handwritten.
38 handwritten pages for State Auditor David Vaudt.
Wondering who was behind Gronstal as he pondered a run for gov? Here's 54 pages to sift through. From 3 months in 2004.
Want to know who bought their way into the mind of State Senator Jack Kibbie? 34 handwritten pages for you.
My State Rep, Jo Oldson, was one of the many who sold out and endorsed the pro-life, pro-big business campaign for governor. Curious about who's bankrolling her? I was. And I bet I'm the first one to scroll through this unreadable crap.
This is a tremendous problem. A member of my campaign spoke to a reporter this week, who had spent almost a full day looking into the donation activities of one person. In one year. In Illinois, that would be a 5 minute task. In Illinois, and many other places, the public has an actual chance to figure this shit out.
Ed told me once that at a Democratic caucus meeting, another State rep asked the room what MidAmerican Energy wanted him to do, because he couldn't afford to lose their support. In an ideal world, we could pass a clean elections law and keep slimy corporate donors from getting into the minds of our politicians at all. But at the very least, the state absolutely must give us a system where, if we're trying to make ourselves vomit, we can go see who's buying off our politicians.