Searching for campaign finance records on the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure board website has always been a nightmare — files are stored in PDF format and aren’t machine readable, so content is essentially siloed in an outdated system. So in February 2011, I decided to download 19k records and use Scribd to digitize and make the campaign finance records searchable. While the data is outdated now, I felt like it showed how easy it was for someone to use a little 21st century technology to improve a system built for a bygone era of campaign finance records submitted via paper documents.
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- By Zach Edwards