The Pennsylvania Department of State has redesigned the portion of its website that contains campaign finance reports. Spokesman Ron Ruman said the old site design was confusing.
“It was set up in a way that perhaps made sense to candidates or people that file campaign finance reports and that sort of thing,” said Ruman, “but to the average citizen that doesn’t deal with those things a lot it was kind of confusing, it wasn’t necessarily intuitive in the way it did the searches.”
Campaign contributions and expenditures are public information by law and the website that contains the reports has been operating for several years.
“The new campaign finance website, we think, is much more common sense in the way people put information into search, it’s much more intuitive,” said Ruman. “Most people probably come to this website looking for campaign finance reports, so that’s the default search.”
Ruman said this website redesign helps keep the election process transparent.
“The whole idea of having this is so that citizens can see who is giving money to which candidates, where they’re raising their money to run for office, where they’re spending it,” he said, “that’s really the reason behind the campaign finance laws that have developed over the last several decades.”
In addition to campaign finance reports, the site offers a variety of candidate filings, and users can search different filing years. Candidates on the ballot this year who file their campaign finance reports include those running for governor, state senate and state house. Candidates for federal offices, including the US House and Senate file their nominating petitions with the PA Department of State, but file their financial information is filed with the Federal Election Commission.