An occasional gripe among the people who scour West Virginia’s campaign finance filings is that the Secretary of State’s Office does not post finance filings in an immediately spreadsheet-friendly format and the secretary’s site does not have a search function.
I asked Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s Office if it had any user-friendly data, specifically filing information in spreadsheets, which are easily sorted computer files. Here’s what spokesman Jake Glance said:
The law does not require that the campaign finance reports be presented in a spread-sheet format. The system we have has been around for a few years and that function was not designed into it when created by [former] Secretary [of State Joe] Manchin. We are in the process of purchasing/designing a new reporting system. Obviously a new system cannot be installed in mid-election cycle (between the primary and general). We hope to get one in place next year when there are (hopefully) no elections. We will consider adding the spreadsheet feature to our Request for Proposal. Keep in mind that all “options” on the car drive up the price. At some time we have to consider how many persons would use the feature and is that worth the price.
In the meantime, the National Institute on Money in State Politics has very good tools for going through West Virginia data, but there is lag time between when candidates file and when the institute incorporates West Virginia’s data into its system.