In our reporting on campaign finance throughout the presidential election cycle, Trend CT analyzes reports from the Federal Election Commission on individual contributions from Connecticut residents.
You can use the database tool below to navigate the contributions on your own.
We’ve put together a quick tutorial on how to use the database. It might be helpful to open the database in a new window and follow along with these instructions.
The simplest way to use the database is to perform a keyword search.
Begin typing and the results will be limited to contributions with partial matches to the contributor name, employer name or location.
(We say “location” because the locations aren’t all municipalities. They are reported to the FEC based on zip code, so places like “Greenwich” and “Old Greenwich” are different places).
Another way to narrow down the data is to click a value, such as “retired” in the occupation column. Then all results will be limited to contributions from people who describe their occupation as “retired.”
You can combine filters by clicking a candidate name, such as “Clinton” and “Westport” in the location column to see all contributions to Democrat Hillary Clinton from Westport residents.
When you add filters, they’ll appear in the filters bar. Click the “x” to remove a filter.
Grouping is the last method of refining the data. It is a way to retrieve summary data rather than each individual donation. It might be a challenging concept for some readers.
A simple example is to group the results by candidate, so that we can see the total dollar amount of donations each candidate received. To do this, click the group icon in the candidate column header.
You’ll notice that the contributor name goes away, being replaced by the number of contributors in that particular group. The amount is now a sum of all of the contributions in that group. Finally, the candidate name and other fields which can’t be summarized for the current group are not displayed. (We’ll discuss this topic more below).
A more useful example is searching for a particular employer. For instance, say we want to find all of the contributions from people who work for Yale. If we begin by typing “Yale” we will get 202 results, spread over three pages. That’s a good place to start, but we can do better.
Now click on the group icon in the employer column header. We now have only 18 results.
Now click on the contributor column header, to sort by the number of contributors in each group.
When we grouped by employer in the previous section, the candidate field went away. That’s because employees of the same organization might support different candidates.
If we want to see a summary of all contributions from Yale employees to each candidate, rather than to all candidates together, continue from the previous section and click on the group icon in the candidate column header.