The purpose of a financial disclosure is to let citizens see who is financing the candidates and how much the candidates are collecting and spending during their campaign. On the Contribution page of the disclosure, they are currently required to show the date of the donation, the name and address of the donor, and the amount of the donation. On the Expenditure page they report the date of the expenditure, the person or organization to whom the expenditure was made, the purpose and the amount of the expenditure.
In 2015 candidates were required to identify whether donations were from an (I)ndividual or a (B)usiness, and that requirement was reflected in the column header on the financial disclosure form. That requirement is not reflected in the header of the 2017 form. If you are interested in knowing whether a donation is from an individual, a business or a political action committee, you will have to determine that from the name and address.
There is much that you can learn from the financial disclosure. You can compare your political beliefs with the beliefs of the donors. You can see who is willing to contribute large amounts of money. Does this mean that our candidates are being purchased? It does not. Recognize, however, that it means that the desires and goals of the candidate are closely enough aligned with the desires and goals of the donor, that the donor is willing to contribute a large sum of money.
The financial disclosure also provides the opportunity to see when money from outside Centerville is being funneled into our election. When this happens, it is prudent to learn which other candidates, perhaps outside Centerville, are receiving money from this donor. Is there a pattern?
The Candidate Profiles are on the Elections 2017 page. Remember that candidate statements are designed to appeal to the voters, so it is a good idea to read the candidate statements and verify what you have read by comparing the Financial Disclosure to see if the contributors to a candidate appear to have the values expressed by the candidate.
Candidates have specific time periods for which they must report their financial activities, and each time period has a specific date by which the financial disclosure is due. Those dates are noted on the Financial Disclosures page for the current election.
It is the responsibility of each candidate to report ALL expenditures and income (either cash or “in kind”) for the reporting period, and to file the financial disclosure by the due date. Failure to do so is cause for the City Recorder to remove the name of the candidate from the ballot. Here are the financial disclosures that have been reported by The Centerville Advocate: