The Public Disclosure Commission website, also known as the PDC, offers the public an organized database where they can access “information on Commission meeting agendas, minutes, enforcement activity, laws, rules, rulemaking and stakeholder activities” as well as a site where they can “look up information on the financing of political campaigns and lobbyist expenditures.”
You may be wondering why you would want to sit there looking through thousands of figures of financial data from a certain race. If you have donated money towards a political candidate because you feel strongly about their points and want to support them, then you can go onto the PDC and see what they spend money on and how much they spend on each thing.
The first step is to access the website: http://www.pdc.wa.gov/MvcQuerySystem and click on the drop down “Search the Database.” Then, you click on the dropdown “Candidates”. After this, you would go on to decide whether the race you’re looking for is statewide, legislative, judicial, or local. After you choose one of the options, you determine which year your election takes place in. Then you would go through the names and find the person you are looking for. If you go into the “Expenditures” tab, you will find what the candidate spent money on, when they spent money, and the amount.
Another way of seeing how candidates spend their money is by finding their surplus accounts. To do this, instead of clicking statewide, legislative, judicial, or local, you would choose the fifth option, “surplus” and continue to choose the surplus account of your candidate. When you click on their surplus account, you would go on to the tab “Surplus Expenditures”. Here you can see all the ways that they used their surplus amount, as well as if you look on the top of the page under their name, it lists the total transfers and total expenditures.
Through this, you are able to see if money has gone towards the cause you feel strongly about and furthermore you can decide if you want to further support a cause by seeing how much money is expended in each case. In this way the PDC provides you with a plethora of opportunities on which aspect of a campaign to focus on, and is useful to keep in mind if you want to focus in on a candidate’s spending.