Grading State Disclosure 2008 Logo Graphic

C o n n e c t i c u t

Grade
Rank
D+
37

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Subcategories
Grade
Rank
Campaign Disclosure Law
C+
24
Electronic Filing Program
D
29
Disclosure Content Accessibility
F
41
Online Contextual & Technical Usability
D+
32

Grading Process green cube Subcategory Weighting green cube Methodology green cube Glossary

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The State of Disclosure in Connecticut

Connecticut moved up from a D in 2007 to a D+ and was one of the three most improved states in the Online Contextual and Technical Usability category in 2008. Despite dropping from a D to an F in the accessibility category in 2008, Connecticut is currently in the process of transitioning to an improved disclosure system that will enhance online access to disclosure data by the end of the year.

Connecticut’s disclosure law earned a C+ and ranked 24th in 2008. Campaigns must provide details about contributors of $50 or more, and occupation and employer data for those giving $100 or more. Campaign expenses, including subvendor data, are disclosed, as are independent expenditures. Connecticut law requires electronic filing only for statewide candidates raising $250,000, by far the highest threshold in place in any state and one that applied to just half of the statewide candidates in 2006. Legislation supported by the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) to reduce the electronic filing threshold to $5,000 and expand the mandate to legislative candidates failed to become law for the second straight year in 2008. The SEEC debuted a new electronic Campaign Reporting Information System (eCRIS) in 2008 that has been well received by filers. The new system alerts users of upcoming filing dates and also notifies filers of errors and violations, features that enable more accurate and timely public disclosure.

While Connecticut received a failing grade in the Disclosure Content Accessibility category in 2008, it should be noted that the process of enhancing the public access component of the eCRIS disclosure system is not complete. The public can currently browse electronically-filed reports and scanned copies of paper-filed reports on the disclosure site. SEEC staff also data-enters the paper records into eCRIS so that all records will be contained in the searchable database of campaign finances that will debut later this year. Electronic reports are accessible immediately upon filing and paper reports are accessible online within 24 hours of receipt.

Connecticut was one of the most improved states in the web site usability category in 2008, climbing 15 places in the rankings and moving from an F to a D+ since the 2007 assessment. A greatly improved usability test performance contributed to the passing grade, as testers were able to navigate the site more quickly and reported greater confidence in the data on the site than testers did in 2007. Features of the new filing system also contributed to the higher grade, with clearer descriptions of the data available and a “Help” link that provides instructions for accessing disclosure reports. The SEEC’s web site could be further enhanced by providing overviews of the totals raised and spent by competing candidates.

Quick Fix: Provide a simple comparison of the totals raised and spent by candidates for each office in the most recent election.

Editor’s Pick: While searching for reports to browse, site visitors can limit the returned list of documents to either originals or amendments. View image

Disclosure Agency: State Elections Enforcement Commission
Disclosure Web Site:
http://www.ct.gov/seec

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First published September 17, 2008
| Last updated on January 31, 2007
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Campaign Disclosure Project. All rights reserved.