How do you find out in Mississippi which special interest group, big donor or political action committee gave to your elected leaders?
Start with the MS Secretary of State’s web page.
1. Navigate the page to find the “Elections & Voting”
2. Then, go to “Campaign Finance & Lobbying”
3. Then click “Campaign Finance Search”
4. Then click “Filed after 12/31/2009”
5. Type in the name of an elected official
6. This will bring up many reports over the years (like SOS Hoseman has 28 separate reports and Lt. Gov. Reeves has 33 separate reports)
7. Click on each report, one at a time, and then print out all the PDF pages of each report.
8. Go back and print all reports of all 122 individual Representatives
9. Go back and print all reports of all 52 individual Senators
10. Go back and print all reports for the 8 statewide offices (Gov., Lt. Gov., AG, etc.)
11. Go back and print all reports for the 9 Supreme Court Judges
12. Go back and print all reports for the 10 Appeals Court Judges
13. Go back and print all reports for the 3 Public Service Commissioners
14. Go back and print all reports for the 3 Transportation Commissioners
15. Go back and find the Lobbyist Reports and do the same for the thousands of pages for each of the 483-registered lobbyist.
16. Go back and do the same for the 193 pages of a list of the Political Action Committees.
17. NOW, stack all the thousands of printed pages for these 609 officials and lobbyist, and unknown number of PACs, and look through all the pages for a common name you think may be a big donor.
18. NOW, add up all those donations from that one donor you found in your search though the thousands of PDF pages.
19. The information is all right there – just impossible to search – wonder who this serves?
We need campaign finance reform now! You should be able to type in the name of any donor and see how much they spent on your elected officials.
Oxford lawyer Jay Hughes represents District 12 in the Mississippi House of Representatives. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.