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275 Million Campaign Finance Records… and counting

Our team has been hard at work the last several months building out the campaign finance coverage available on Vigilant. Starting at the federal level with the FEC and working our way down through states, counties, and cities, we’ve now brought together over 275 million individual records to create the largest pool of campaign finance data ever made accessible in one place.

It hasn’t been easy. The information comes from several hundred unique sources of data, spanning a patchwork of different jurisdictions, data formats, reporting mechanisms, requirements, and reporting timelines. In many places, our team had to overcome big challenges like finding ways to extract information from messy handwritten forms, and unearthing records buried deep in outdated government websites. Sorting through – and clearly organizing – misfiled records, duplicated records, and records amended three or four times were all important parts of our process as we expanded our coverage.

Now, instead of a manual process that would take hours, Vigilant can complete a search on this collection of hundreds of millions of records in seconds, providing the most comprehensive campaign finance results available. And because all of Vigilant’s searches are either live queries or pull from databases we update several times a day, you can trust that the search is always as up-to-date as possible, even as the number of political donations being made every day continues to grow.

In the months ahead, we are going to continue building out our Campaign Finance coverage even more, bringing more counties, cities and other jurisdictions into our platform. The 2016 and 2018 election seasons both broke records for political giving and 2020 will likely do so again. We’ll be right there alongside all the new records, helping our customers access and make sense of the information needed to make better informed decisions.