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Sources to Search: CPI’s State Legislator Disclosures

A great new data project from the Center for Public Integrity pulls together financial disclosures for nearly 7,000 state legislators in office in 2015. While some of the legislators are no longer in office, it still provides a lot of interesting data – both on the legislators themselves, and on business interests many are tied to.

CPI pulled together PDF disclosures from across the country, and in part the project helps highlight the wide differences in disclosure requirements between different states. While many states use online reporting and have easily text searchable forms, some – like New York and New Hampshire – still report using handwritten forms, making the data even more difficult to extract.

The database is full of interesting tidbits. A search for Trump, for instance, shows that former Ohio State Senate Democratic leader Capri Cafaro disclosed receiving a gift from him in 2015. Searches for Amazon, Facebook, and Google show dozens of state representatives with investments in these platforms (as well as plenty who have recieved gifts from them).

The text search isn’t perfect, but considering the difficulty of converting all of these documents, it works pretty well. Because the documents aren’t converted on the page, you can’t use the find function in the browser to find the mention you’re looking for, but if you open the disclosure in the DocumentCloud link provided, it will allow you to search for the mention (within a text-converted document).