This page compiles resources about political campaign contributions.
[Modified Nov 2016]
2014 CIVIC ELECTION
- Case study: Vision Vancouver’s 2014 donations over $1,000. Are contribution limits the key to limiting big money in civic politics?
- Donor lists published voluntarily before election date, NPA, Green, COPE ($4.5 million in donations declared so far: Vision & NPA get lion’s share of campaign contributions, 9-Nov-2016). https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/election-donations-to-date/
2011 CIVIC ELECTION
- See this page for information about 2011 civic election campaign financing, with downloadable lists in PDF and Excel, of party funding. https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/political-campaign-contributions-in-the-limelight-as-march-19-reporting-deadline-looms-cityhallwatch/
Specific data for the 2011 civic election, for Vision Vancouver, the winning party, is here for download in PDF and Excel formats. Note that creating a file like the Excel file below consumes a considerable amount of volunteer work and technical skill. CityHallWatch is not aware of any other entity that attempted this analysis for the 2011 election.
Note: We did not include donations to individual Vision Vancouver candidates in this tally above. The individual disclosures are included as the last item for each candidate in their profiles. See links below:
Apparently, Gregor Robertson did not receive any direct contributions to his own mayoral campaign as a candidate.
Another important note: The donation declarations are done on an “honour system.” NO INDEPENDENT AUDIT is conducted. Of particular concern is reporting of “in-kind” donations. The lack of a solid system for tracking gifts, cash, and in-kind donations leaves Vancouver’s civic system open to the potential for corruption. See our Six Actions to Clean Up Vancouver Politics, and join the movement!
2011 Civic Election
Candidates and elector organizations are not required by law to report their campaign contributions until 120 days after the election.
- Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver ($38,000, PDF media release) and the Vancouver Greens (about $15,000) disclosed their interim figures on November 17, in response to a challenge by Occupy Vancouver.
- Media reports suggest that in 2011, Vision Vancouver and the Non-Partisan Association may have doubled their expenditures from 2008 ($2.5 million and $2.1 million, respectively, in 2008). In media, COPE has reported expenditures of about $340,000.
- CityHallWatch has annotated a list of donors that attended a Vision Vancouver Fundraiser in November 2011 (source: Vancouver Sun).
- Related article: http://www.vancourier.com/12th+Cambie+Money+flocks+Vision+fundraiser/5652452/story.html
- Vancouver Courier reporter Mike Howell’s blog on “A night at the NPA Fundraiser” (4-Nov-2011) indicates some attendees, but no complete list.
2008 Civic Election
- Link to Vancouver Sun database on 2008 civic election contributions and related articles (excellent reading) about campaign finance reform. Use this database to search by municipality, by elected official, and by donor.
- Citizen analysis of contributions for 2008 election from developers.
(CityHallWatch Table 1 Developer $ Vancouver Election 2008-10 (ranked for Vision))
(CityHallWatch Table 2 Developer $ Vancouver Election 2008-10 (ranked for total)).
These tables include the VISIONVANCOUVER.supplementaryreport which adds details disclosed by Vision in July 2010 about funds collected to pay off the $240,000 debt owed by Vision Vancouver to an unreported source at the end of the 2008 election.
Further below is a note about the difficult methodology of compiling.
- Official City of Vancouver elections website, with links to previous elections (2996, 2999, 2002, 2005, 2008): http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/elections/elections.htm
- In particular, links to campaign financing disclosures from 2008. Note that these are in scanned PDF format, making it impossible to search electronically. See box in top right for links.
- More coming.
Notes about difficulty of compiling data:
- Note that organizing this data is very time consuming. The City does not make it easy for citizens to access and manipulate this data. The City of Vancouver website in 2008 provides only scanned PDFs of the data submitted by candidates and elector organizations.
- A researcher who prepared Table 1 and 2 above provided CityHallWatch this explanation: I was interested in the amounts pledged by developers and so had to go into the material the hard way. I had to the raw data (links by the Sun) and then take a screen shot (jpg) of each set of 15 donations. Since there were 6044 donations that means going through 402 pages, taking a screen shot of each one and then inputting that data into a spread sheet. Each screen shot also involves a Google search on any likely ‘real estate’ contributor. It would be even more complicated to break down donations by major category (e.g., unions, green business interests etc). The bottom line is that a full analysis of donations would probably require 2 person-weeks or more. If I were to be uncharitable, I would say that the reason the reported data on donations is presented in the form that it is is to meet the letter of law on reporting but to make it nigh impossible to see what is really happening. I limited myself to 40 pages (600 donations) or about 10% of the total ranging from the largest to smaller amounts and I have attached the first 20 pages (as jpgs). Bob Rennie and Renewal figure prominently on the first page. I suppose it would be possible to convert all the jps to pdfs, OCR them and then search by name. The real estate/developer community is even more difficult to get at because of the practice of creating separate business entities (I would like to say ‘front’) either for accounting purposes or to ensure anonymity – hence the reliance on Google.
- In Vancouver, a lot of property is owned by numbered companies. Even large and famous companies in some cases provide no further information to the public than the name of the CEO or president.]
- Official info on contribution disclosure: Campaign financing disclosure statements (http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/election2008/candidate-profiles.htm) Every candidate’s financial agent must file a campaign financing disclosure statement no more than 120 days after the election (March 16, 2009). If anything changes after the statement is filed, the financial agent must file a supplementary report within 30 days of becoming aware of the change. Failure to file a complete campaign financing disclosure statement or supplementary report may lead to penalties, up to and including disqualification from holding office until after the next general local election. A campaign financing disclosure statement must be filed even if no campaign contributions were received, and no election expenses were incurred. Campaign financing disclosure statements will be available for public inspection for seven years after the election.
More Reading and Resources
(In blogs, search for “campaign donations” and “campaign contributions”)
- Frances Bula “State of Vancouver” (www.francesbula.com)
- CityCaucus (www.CityCaucus.com)
- ThinkCity (http://www.thinkcity.ca/node/150) about 2008 election costs.
- Viviane Krause “Fair Questions” about US donors funding Vision Vancouver and others (http://fairquestions.typepad.com/rethink_campaigns/)
- BC Government Local Government Elections Task Force (2009-2010) (http://www.localelectionstaskforce.gov.bc.ca/topics.html)
- More coming