Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sacramento Bee: Secretary of state hits California’s ‘Frankenstein monster’ campaign finance database

Secretary of State Alex Padilla
Source: SacBee
By Jeremy B. White, Dec. 11, 2015, Sacramento Bee

California’s online database for tracking campaign donations and lobbying dollars is in dire need of a “complete rebuild,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla told lawmakers on Friday.

“The guts of Cal Access and how it’s built and how it has evolved leaves much to be desired,” Padilla said during a Senate hearing on campaign finance. “From a technical, a coding standpoint it’s often referred to as a Frankenstein monster of code.”

Journalists and transparency advocates have for years faulted the clunky database, saying it impedes efforts to track influence. Padilla embraced those criticisms and said the state needs to overhaul the database and move from an outdated, paper-based system to a digital-first version.

“We’re doing our best with duct tape and rubber bands,” Padilla said. “We need a new Cal Access. No more band-aids, no more glossy polish. We need a complete rebuild of the system.”


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