PACTRACK – Are Politicians For Sale in Idaho?
by Shari Dovale
You can now “Follow The Money” in Boise
It is now easier for anyone to track the money flowing from the Political Action Committees (PAC), also known as Special Interest Groups, in Idaho.
PACTRACK.org went online and public today, fully search-able to follow the money through Boise.
As the elections heat up, politicians tend to want to hide who is funding their campaigns. The Special Interests Groups are the people that expect the favors to be returned, usually in the form of legislation that benefits their organization, product, or special interest.
A new website was unveiled today that allows anyone to fully search the Secretary of State’s (SOS) data information and trace where the donations are coming from.
I have always had trouble navigating the SOS data base, and the sunshine reports, though I continue to try because it is important information. With PACTrack.org, it has become a breeze to trace the money.
This website will, no doubt, become one of the most important political websites in Idaho.
This website does not require registration, or giving up your personal information. It offers the full services without any requirements to the user. And it is very easy to use. From the front page, you can input any name, from politician to donor. From there, you can trace back who is controlling the donations to your legislators.
The site does not tell you if the information is good or bad, as that is left for you to determine. Only you can tell if the PAC money is too much for your comfort level. Additionally, if you want specific information on what a company does, you may have to google their name. The site only tracks the money, via donations, that have been reported under the Sunshine laws of Idaho.
The data base is currently filled with information from the Idaho Sunshine Reports from 2012 through 2014. The current 2016 reports are expected to be included as soon as they are all available.
As PACTRACK.org explains, not all political action committees are who they claim to be. That’s right. Some of them have names that make them seem to be different from who they actually are.
For example, let’s look at Sportsmen For Idaho. They sound like a PAC dedicated to sportsmen’s interests, like hunting, fishing, camping, etc. However, searching PACTrack’s database will reveal that they are funded by Conservation Voters of Idaho, an environmental group that, regardless of what they claim, is diametrically opposed to sportsmen’s interests.
Conservation Voters of Idaho funds other misleading PACs, like Sportsmen For Idaho, who in turn target legislators with fraudulent mailings and advertisements claiming that the targeted legislator is against the interests of sportsmen.
If it is not true, then it is a lie, and they need to be exposed.
It is just as easy to track the money to politicians. Type in their name and get the detailed information at your fingertips.
As you can see by the above example, Brent Hill has had over 96% of his contributions from Special Interest Groups, totaling over $115,000. WOW!
My favorite feature of PACTrack has to be the cash-o-meter. This is a handy dandy gauge that color codes the results in one quick peek. If it is nearly all red, your candidate has a problem. If it is nearly all green, then your candidate is probably good to go and looking out for you.
Yes, we have all complained about politician‘s. We want to know where the money is coming from, and who is receiving the favors. PACTrack is proving to be a simple, yet effective, tool to answer those questions for everyone.
Ken DeVries is the brain behind PACTrack. He worked on the concept, design and implementation for months. He is available to answer questions through the forums on the website, and through their Facebook page. Ken is currently funding the site himself, but welcomes donations to cover expenses. If you like PACTrack.org, consider helping to keep it up and running.