The Federal Election Commission maintains a database of individuals, partnership, limited liability corporations and other entities that have made contributions to political committees. The public may search the database at fec.gov.
The only information needed to search the FEC database is the last name of an individual. An advanced search feature can help individuals refine the search. The information available includes contributions made since 1997. The database specifies which type of committee received the donation, including joint fundraising committees and Super PACs. The FEC updates the records approximately 30 days after each reporting period.
The FEC also provides other campaign financial data on its website. The public can search a different database for campaign finance reports filed by individual candidates and political committees.
The U.S. Congress created the FEC in 1975. The commission's purpose is to oversee only the campaign finance aspect of federal elections. As a result, its databases and reports only cover information for elections for the House of Representatives, Senate and presidency. All states require candidates to report contributions to the office charged with overseeing elections in the state, such as the board of elections or ethics commissions. Some states provide information about campaign contributions online in the form of searchable databases, spreadsheets or scanned reports.