Pittsburgh, PA Comptroller Michael Lamb just announced plans to create a searchable database for campaign contributions to local candidates and city contracts. This comes after an in depth expose by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette regarding city contracts being given to businesses who give large campaign donations. “The Post-Gazette analyzed 3,300 campaign contributions since 2005 and data on more than 4,400 contracts, development deals and other actions by the city and its authorities since 2006.”
This article describes how several companies who gave the mayor a significant campaign donation got no bid contracts. Even though no formal “pay for play” charges are determined the perception of wrong doing is evident.
The creation of a searchable database that will make this information easily available and transparent is definitely one steop in the right direction. Also, this story demonstrates exactly how investigative journalism keeps lawmakers accountable and moves transparency measure forward.