About This Project
My name is Ryan Hughes. I’m a Political Ethics Attorney and Data Scientist. As a Political Ethics Attorney, I specialize in political compliance law.
I used to be a campaign research staffer, where I had to track the flow of political money for my bosses. That part of the job was horribly tedious, so I wrote software to do the work for me.
I knew most voters didn’t have time to read mountains of campaign finance disclosure reports, so I decided to give my tool, Dollar Dollar Bill, to the public.
Dollar Dollar Bill’s software crunches mountains of data to produce meaningful charts and graphs that are automatically updated as soon as new contributions and independent expenditures are reported.
Currently, California voters need to read hundreds, often thousands, of pages of spreadsheets to understand who’s spending money influencing our elections.
Together, we can change that. If we can bring Dollar Dollar Bill live, we can bring transparency to California campaign finance data.
We need a website platform to publish our content. That's where this Kickstarter comes in.
If you back us, you’ll help us launch a website that leverages our innovative software to publish California campaign finance data for everyone’s benefit.
Dollar Dollar Bill is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, so backing us is tax-deductible.
Why California Voters Need Dollar Dollar Bill
Whatever your political persuasion, we can all agree: California campaign finance information should be easy for voters to access and understand.
Unless you’re a campaign research staffer or reporter, it’s unfair and unrealistic to hope you’ll read thousands of pages per election.
What’s Missing From Other Campaign Finance Tools?
Most campaign finance tools available only look at campaign contributions — but contributions are only half the picture. Interest groups spend millions in elections without ever contributing to a candidate.
Dollar Dollar Bill bridges that gap by presenting a full picture of campaign spending. Our software also tracks spending for state ballot measure campaigns, which almost nobody is doing.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenges associated with this project reside in the large dataset we're analyzing. It's a complicated set of data — to say the least. And it's sometimes inconsistent.
Dollar Dollar Bill is uniquely positioned to overcome those problems. As John A. Pérez, Speaker Emeritus of the California State Assembly, put it:
"I’ve never met anybody better at tracking money in California politics than Ryan. That, in addition to his technical background make him uniquely qualified to start this venture."
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter