Reporter to Santa: 1. Sugar, 2. Spice, 3. Technology for campaign finance database

December 10, 2010

Banking & Finance

By Amy McCullough

If wishes were horses, campaign contributions in Mississippi would be easier to search.

The Mississippi Business Journal understands the state has limited resources and appreciates the Secretary of State’s inclusion of campaign contribution pdfs online.

But if we could change one thing as far political reporting goes, our Ethics Commission would have an adequate budget, and Mississippi would have searchable campaign finance records.

Oh, if we only had the resources of Texas, for example, and their Ethics Commission’s coveted Microsoft Access database! Then campaign contributions could be quickly and easily sorted. Money trails could be followed. Information verified. What fun we would have.

At least we have campaign finance reports in scrollable, pdf format on Secretary of State’s website. But folks who don’t have the time or the resources to devote weeks looking at pdf after pdf, hand-entering numbers to create their own databases, find that difficult to use.

Unfortunately, our state budget is not what we’d like it to be. And often, the political will for transparency that would apply down both sides of the aisle is not always there.

Maybe one day, some day …

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