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Sure, all the news reports are coming out today on the various presidential candidates and their quarterly FEC filings, but one of the nice things is that you don't have to depend on all that to find the information of interest to you.  The law required Presidential and House candidates to file these reports electronically by April 15, and they are all available to you, right now, to do your own sleuthing and reporting.

Here is the link to the FEC's website.  If you want to find all the Presidentials, just select "presidential" for committee type, and "APR Quarterly" for the report.  Or just type in a name of a Presidential or House candidate.

Click on "view" next to the report filed on 4/15/2007, and you'll see something like this, with a summary chart and a list of links.  (We'll stick with Sen. Biden as an example.)  There, you'll easily see lines like "10. Cash on Hand at CLOSE of the Reporting Period" and line 17(a), "Contributions (other than loans) From: Individuals/Persons Other than Political Committees".  That's all the individual contributions.

The main links to explore for each candidate are Schedule A -- Itemized Receipts and Schedule B -- Itemized Disbursements.  These contain the itemized lists of all individual contributions greater that $250, and all campaign expenditures of any amount.   In particular, 17A lists the individual contributors,  and 17C lists contributions from PACs and transfers from other candidate committees.  For expenditures, Line 23 is what you want (operating expenditures).  Everything from staff salaries to travel and meal expenses to consultant fees is there.  Want to find out how much each candidate is paying his or her internet staff?  It's there.  (Want to see if anyone's being paid without disclosing it?  It would be there, too.)

You can go through this analysis for any Presidential or House candidate.  Find out how our freshmen are doing on fundraising for their reelections.  Or see which Republicans seem very vulnerable based on lackluster fundraising, which I just noticed.  (Hey, if you work for Mean Jean, you do get one dinner at the Cheesecake Factory every three months, and a lot of leftover chili.)  See which wealthy donors are giving to multiple presidential candidates.  Etc.

There is a wealth of information about the Presidential and House fields now available.  You just have to sift through it and tell us what you find.  For example, anyone want to start putting together all the CoH numbers for all the targeted House races?  The truth, as the kids like to say, is out there.

e.t.a.:Swing State Project has done much of that House legwork already.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 08:32 AM PDT.

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