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BLOG: Getting Nosy Using Hawaii’s Campaign Spending Tracker

November 25, 2013, 5:27 PM HST
* Updated November 25, 6:07 PM
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Apparently, this is the year of the web portal.

While the head of Hawai`i’s online Health Exchange was preparing to hit the “Esc” key (read: resign) amid continuing website dysfunction, two new government-run online tools were launched that show off what happens when government-sponsored web services are done correctly for a change.

We profiled the first, the “Location Affordability Portal” in an earlier blog post. It’s a handy tool for comparing the cost of living across multiple addresses and commute distances. If you haven’t already, give it a look.

The second, which we’ll introduce here, is the less-than-sexy sounding “Data Visualization App” from the Hawai`i Campaign Spending Commission.

After reading about the app in a brief post over at Honolulu Civil Beat, we decided to dive in and see what we could find.


For nosy citizens (and journalists), the app turns out to be a total web dream.


Just enter a politician’s name, and all sorts of tantalizing tidbits show up, all neatly laid out on a series of pie charts.

Financial contributions? They got that. Expenditures? Oh yeah.

Contributions by source, amount, and by zip code? Yes, yes, and… you get the idea. Just mouse-over the pie charts to get actual dollar amounts by category.


Not only can you get a visual guide to the fundraising and spending habits of most state and county-level politicians, but you can also pull up all that raw, juicy data in an in-depth chart, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Here are a few tasty nuggets of info to whet your appetite for our coming series:

Did you know…

  • Rep. Clift Tsuji. House photo.

    Rep. Clift Tsuji. House photo.

    Rep. Clift Tsuji accepted $1,500 from the Monsanto Corporation in 2012, while Sen. Josh Green returned a total of $500 in donations to the same company.

  •  Sen. Malama Solomon’s campaign managed to get hit by service fees from Bank of Hawaii on seven separate occasions between March and July of 2012.
  •  Mayor Billy Kenoi’s campaign racked up $113,521.99 in food and beverage expenses in the most recent election cycle, while his opponent, former mayor Harry Kim, spent a total of $0 on same.

Note: The Data Visualization App runs well, but isn’t completely bug-free as of yet. If the graphs don’t load for you, try hitting the “reset” button on your browser a couple of times.

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