“All the information has been publicly available, but not in a readily searchable form,” said Joel Bellman, Yaroslavsky’s press deputy. The documents are “useful, but they would definitely, undeniably be more useful in a quick and easy to search form.” The motion notes the county has been discussing this issue since 2003, and originally expected the charts to be ready a full year sooner. Without the full 10 years worth of data, the system is not “truly useful,” Yaroslavsky’s motion says. Supervisor Don Knabe supports the idea of updating the campaign donation site, but has concerns. When he recently submitted his campaign donation statements online, “I’m told now that had we not done it online, the Registrar-Recorder would have put it online, but they would have had to enter it manually and had us check it line by line to make sure they entered it right,” Knabe said. “I don’t mind having it online,” he said. “But I don’t want them having to go line by line, and then make us responsible for checking 10 years of reporting.” He is waiting for a response from the Registrar-Recorder’s office about whether there is a better way, Knabe said. Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Conny McCormack said double-checking by the “Big 8” – the county’s eight elected officials – would not be required. “We would institute quality control procedures,” McCormack said. “However, whenever humans enter data, there is always the possibility for human error re-keying the data. Whether or not any of the Big 8 would want to review our staff’s work for the possibility of data entry error would, it seems to me, be their decision.” Supervisor Gloria Molina’s press deputy, Roxane Marquez, said Molina supported the motion as a way to further open government. Press deputy Tony Bell said Supervisor Michael Antonovich also supports the motion, but worries that it might swamp the already overburdened Registrar-Recorder, which also organizes county elections. The move to improve the county’s campaign finance data comes at the same time as the Los Angeles Times’ decision to make its own database this spring – a feat the newspaper achieved in months, not years, according to a recent editorial. Since a 2005 Times’ article found that campaign finance violations were being overlooked, the Registrar-Recorder’s office said it still hasn’t penalized anyone for a violation of Proposition B, according to officials. Proposition B has a variety of rules and exceptions, but mainly it limits candidates to accepting no more that $1,000 from a donor per election, and prohibits donations from lobbyists. “If we’ve ever found anything in (campaign statements) that exceeds the contribution limit or that (a county candidate) has taken from someone they shouldn’t have, we’ve notified them,” said Tim McNamara, assistant registrar-recorder for the election services bureau. The office sends campaign treasurers a letter, he said. “Treasurers are usually grateful, and they’re like, `Oops,”‘ McNamara continued. “They have the ability to correct that by giving the money back, and they all have.” McNamara said he did not have a complete list of whose campaign treasurers had received such letters. Allowing violations to go unpunished is only a problem if there are repeat offenders, said Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies. “If it’s one or two mistakes, clearly, a letter is fine,” Stern said. “But if it’s a series of mistakes where candidates have gone over the limits or have not complied with the law, then I think it should be referred over to the county council’s office or the District Attorney for further action.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2730160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The county recently updated its campaign finance Web site to make candidate donations easier to search, but supervisors will likely ask for more. The Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office Web site update, which took effect July 2, lets viewers look at recent donations in a clean chart form, instead of the clunky, page-by-page PDF form they had been posted in. But county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky wants to see the past decade of campaign finance disclosures posted as readily searchable charts. A motion on the Board of Supervisors agenda today asks the board to approve $72,309 to hire people to manually type in all the campaign finance data collected since the county passed its 1996 campaign finance law, Proposition B.