PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia’s Board of Ethics (BOE) and the Office of Innovation and Technology’s (OIT) CityGeo team have launched an interactive dashboard for the City’s campaign finance data. This tool will make it possible for the public to explore the open data during elections. The City also created an in-depth video tutorial on how to use the dashboard, along with metadata and technical documentation. The data and dashboard include filings from 2019 to the present.
“The data dashboard is the result of our long-term collaboration with OIT to make our filing system and data easier to use and understand. We will continue to work together to help the public better access and understand campaign finance disclosures,” said Executive Director of the Board of Ethics J. Shane Creamer, Jr.
“As we enter a significant local election season and others to come, we hope this dashboard and open data make campaign finance more transparent and accessible,” said Senior Program Manager Kistine Carolan.
The dashboard can be used in a number of different ways to explore several data points. Media can use the resource to quickly report on the approximate contributions or expenditures of a particular candidate or other filer. Voters can explore donations candidates received. Political scientists and researchers can analyze trends over time. Candidates may use it to review their own activity or compare with others.
“Creating this tool was a challenge, but the City has prioritized making campaign finance data more user-friendly,” shared the City’s Chief Information Officer Mark Wheeler. “The Campaign Finance Dashboard further reinforces our commitment to transparency and equipping residents with as much information available when they’re making important voting decisions.”
This dashboard is in beta – the City is committed to improving and adjusting this tool based on the public’s interests and needs. For thoughts about the dashboard, please submit feedback via this form.
How to use this data responsibly
Today’s open data release makes this information more accessible by providing cleaner data without duplicates and additional key information in user-friendly tables that power the interactive dashboard. When using the dashboard or open datasets for official purposes, the City recommends citing numbers as ‘approximate’ for the following reasons:
- Data may change daily as filers submit new information or amend previous reports.
- Transactions may not appear in the data if they have not been reported yet.
- Filers are allowed to group small donations (less than $50) as a lump sum, called unitemized contributions. This means the exact contribution amounts, number, identity, or locations of those donors is not disclosed, and therefore any metrics based on those parameters will exclude such contributions.
- Data may include some errors due to inevitable inconsistencies in reporting.
- Some state-level candidates file paper reports that do not currently enter OIT’s database. The datasets include a field that flags filers who have submitted paper filings and how many they have submitted. You can view historical paper filings on the archived version of the City Commissioner’s website.
Learn more about how to use the dashboard and understand the data in it by watching the tutorial.