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Transparency tools give voters view of campaign fundraising

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Posted at 11:20 AM, Mar 17, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Voters who wish to learn more about the people and groups donating money to candidates and campaigns in the Colorado Springs municipal election can find campaign finance disclosure reports on the city's website.

The Election Data & Resources panel at coloradosprings.gov/elections lets users download the disclosure forms submitted periodically by candidates and committees.

City Clerk Sarah Johnson explained that anyone who spends money campaigning in support or opposition to a candidate or ballot question must submit these disclosure reports.

Candidates and committees were required to meet monthly filing deadlines for donations received from September through December. The deadlines increased to twice a month from January through Election Day with a final reporting deadline of April 30.

Professor Josh Dunn, Ph.D., Chair of the UCCS Political Science Department explained that campaign finance laws emerged from the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration in the 1970s to increase transparency in elections.

"Even though Watergate was not directly connected to campaign donations, there were still concerns about his campaign. And so, you started getting some significant campaign finance laws at the federal level," he said.

He said the reports help voters learn whether donors are people they agree with or disagree with politically.

"Sometimes the donations can indicate the nature of the support, not just the kinds of people," Professor Dunn explained.

"If someone has raised a lot of money but it's come from small donors, that would indicate that they, perhaps, have a broader base of support where someone else might have raised a similar amount of money but it's been concentrated among a few donors."

Unlike state and federal elections, the City of Colorado Springs does not have contribution limits.

Dunn cautions the public to not read too much into these reports. He encouraged interested voters to visit campaign forums or debates to see how candidates answer questions and interact with their opponents.

CLICK HERE TO SEARCH CURRENT CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS CAMPAIGN FINANCE FILINGS

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