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Here’s how to find out who’s giving money to county candidates

We’re in the final leg of the county election campaign, and the money has poured into the coffers of everyone from committee member candidates to mayoral candidates.

On Sunday I fell into a geeky black hole of campaign contributions, scouring through donor lists for names that I recognized. Then I shared it with other New Tropic folks.

We figured there are plenty of other nosy, civically engaged people out there in the county that might also enjoy the hunt, so here’s a guide to digging into Miami-Dade campaign contributions. You’re going to find some interesting stuff in there.

  • Start here. It’s a bit 1999 Internet looking, but it’s pretty straightforward. You’ll find all the candidates in the Aug. 30 election.
  • Click on a candidate’s name, and you’ll be presented with a list of all of his reports on who he got money and other forms of donations from. There’s something called “in-kind contributions,” which estimates the monetary value of things other than money given to a campaign — say, when someone hosts a campaign event for a candidate and doesn’t make the campaign pay for the food and drinks they provided
  • Click on a date range. The page you’ll get will detail the names and addresses of everyone who gave money (the max for any individual is $1,000), then all the in-kind contributions, and then everything the campaign spent money on. It’s fun. People spend a lot of money on postage.
  • If you want to descend further into that black hole, you can download these reports as .csv files, which means you can open them in Excel. Then the real fun begins, because you can sort by name, industry, etc.

Happy hunting, civic geeks. Let us know if you find anything super juicy.