Canton Repository

March 15, 2007

 Following federal money trail a snap

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service


WASHINGTON Finding out who is giving money to your congressman and senator, what they spend it on and who the lawmakers might be sharing their contributions with is fairly painless on the Federal Election Commission Web site.

Start by going to: www.fec.gov

Click on "campaign finance reports and data" at left.

Several options are displayed.

Lawmakers must file reports with the FEC at least four times a year showing the money their campaign committees have collected and spent.

Let's use Sen. George Voinovich, R-Cleveland, as an example and start by looking at his latest report.

Click on "view images of all financial reports." Under "partial name of candidate/committee," type Voinovich and click on "get listing." Four listings for Voinovich committees are displayed. The relevant and active one is "Voinovich for Senate Committee."

Click on it.

Scroll down to and click on the "year-end" report under 2006. The report has figures for total contributions received and expenditures made during the year. It also lists specific contributions and expenditures for the last month or so of 2006, including names, addresses and dates.

Say you want to get a longer- term view of Voinovich's campaign receipts or spending. Go back to the "campaign finance reports and data" page. Click on "search the disclosure database."

Click on "committee search." Under "committee name," type in Voinovich and click on "get listing." Click on "Voinovich for Senate Committee."

One link, "contributions received," lists donations to Voinovich from political action committees and Republican Party organizations going back several years.

Another, "committees and candidates supported/opposed," shows Voinovich's contributions to other candidates and GOP organizations that he supports.

You also can pull up a list of individuals who donated to the senator's campaign committee for the past several years by clicking on "individuals who gave to this committee."

The site also provides a wealth of other material.