July 10, 2013

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Article

New Database Reveals Campaign Finances

Press Release

July 10, 2013

Salt Lake City - A new database launched by the non-partisan, good government group ABU Education Fund is intended to shed light on campaign finance in Utah by creating a fully searchable collection of campaign disclosure statements.

The database can be accessed at followthemoney.abueducationfund.org.

The open-access Utah Disclosures Search consists of raw data gathered from campaign finance reports, available on the Utah lieutenant governor's website, that have been collated into an easily searchable database.

Maryann Martindale, executive director of ABU Education and Alliance for a Better UTAH, has described the database as making financial disclosure documents more easily accessible.

"This information was always available on the lieutenant governor's website," said Martindale. "But it was like searching for a dozen different colored needles in a dozen different haystacks. This database finds all those needles, and puts them in color-coded piles. It will save people time and the typical frustration that comes with wading through the individual disclosures."

However, the data is still only as good as the campaign finance laws currently in place in Utah.

"If anything, this speaks to the need for more transparent campaign laws and stricter campaign finance laws if we truly want open and ethical elections in Utah," said Martindale.

Attorney General John Swallow is currently being investigated by the lieutenant

governor's office over allegations that he broke election laws by failing to disclose his business interests before running for attorney general. Though this database could not have prevented his actions, it may have been able to shed light on the curious and concerning donations that Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, were soliciting.

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