A clear view of who is spending money on elections

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With the local elections pretty much behind us now and with the upcoming November Presidential race heating up, I wanted know how much money Forsyth County is contributing to elections.

Enter the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, formerly known as the State Ethics Commission.

Their website is easy enough to find, www.ethics.ga.gov.

Once there, you can peruse campaign filings from local and state candidates and search campaign contributions.

The interactive map is pretty cool and ranks Forsyth County in the middle range of campaign donations — $225,372.

Our neighbors to the west, Cherokee County spent a bit more at $327,509, while to the northeast, Hall County spent $298,461.

The biggest spenders on campaigns this year were Fulton County at $3.8 million and Bibb County at $2.3 million.

The other neat feature of this map, is that you can break it down by party and office. For example, if you enter 2012 contributions to Democrats, you get $4,075 to the Republicans $135,405.

It’s indicative of the recent local campaigning, which had no Democrat qualifying.

In all, the state gave $30.4 million in campaign contributions.

Unfortunately, the contribution campaign map is rather limited to state office.

You can see how much was given to a governor’s race for example, or a state senate or superior court judge, but you can’t break it down to the commissioner’s race or a sheriff’s race.

For that, you’d have to dig a bit under the personal financial disclosure portion of the site.

Being empowered with information is always a plus, so the more data the state can put out on elections, the better electorate we will have.