Kudos to the folks at MyDD who painstakingly compiled a list of the names of the last-minute contributors to Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (D-Conn) campaign. It took two volunteers five hours to do the work. To do it they had to download 14 PDF files from the FEC, then enter the names by hand into an Excel spreadsheet.
They also compiled state-by-state totals of where the money came from. Only 12% came from inside Connecticut.
This is exactly the kind of information that should be available to anyone without going through all that trouble. But the U.S. Senate exempted itself from the rules that all other federal candidates, PACs and parties have to live by – namely electronic reporting of their campaign contributions.
Unbelievable as it may be in the year 2006, they’re still submitting handwritten reports, which the FEC then converts into PDF file images and posts on the web. But these are only images. It will be weeks before those contributions are entered into the FEC database, so they can be sorted and analyzed.
Every year, the agency hires inputters – at taxpayer expense – to hand-enter those paper reports into something a computer can read. Of course, the Senate campaigns do compile all this information in their own computers as the contributions come in. It’s just that they don’t share it with anyone.
Like I said, unbelievable.