The Carolina Ledger has curated seven tools for citizens who want to follow the money. Want to know what public officials are doing with your tax dollars? This collection makes looking into state and federal spending a breeze.
Statewide income disclosure—Searching public officials’ economic interest disclosures and campaign expenditures is easy using the State Ethics Commission’s database. Campaign disclosures for political parties and caucuses are also available.
The database also enables tracking of paid lobbyists. Here visitors can track how much a particular lobbyist is paid by the firm he or she represents. Also available are minimal contact information and income disclosures for lobbyists paid by state agencies.
Budget and Control Board transparency hub—The state Budget and Control Board hosts what it calls the transparency hub. This hub gives visitors a range of tracking tools to look up individual state salaries over $50,000, spending by state agency, procurement by agency and more.
State spending tracker—Similarly, a tracking tool by the state Comptroller General’s office helps citizens keep track of spending of taxpayer dollars by the more than 90 state agencies. The database organizes monthly and annual spending according to state agencies.
Recovery Carolina—Ever wonder how successful the stimulus was in S.C.? The state offers some data through Sept. 2013 on job creation and how stimulus funds were divvied up.
Conflicts of interest—The Libertarian-leaning think tank, the S.C. Policy Council has a list of state elected officials they’ve asked to voluntarily disclose sources of private income. Aimed at illuminating potential conflicts of interest, the project shows who hasn’t disclosed income sources, who has, and what those sources are.
Here are a couple of tracking tools on the federal side:
The Sunlight Foundation—The Sunlight Foundation, a transparency initiative, has compiled a list of tools and apps to help citizens inspect Congress, lobbying, local governments and other activities by public officials. There’s even a tool for discovering deleted tweets by candidates and elected officials.
The White House—Believe it or not, the White House has its own set of transparency initiatives. The website offers a range of tools enabling government spending tracking, excess federal property and more.