Candidate
Committee
     
Candidate
Committee
     

Montana's campaign finance laws ensure that the public can engage with a transparent reporting of money in elections. The Campaign Electronic Reporting System (CERS) is a publicly accessible database where candidates and committees report the money they receive and spend to promote and oppose candidates and ballot issues. CERS’ campaign finance information can be found through four tabs:

Information pertaining to contributions received by candidates can be directly searched here. Users may search for contributions received by an individual candidate’s campaign by searching for the candidate’s name. Broader searches may be run by filtering for Campaign Type, Office Sought, Contribution Type, Contribution Amount, or Election Year instead of name.

Information on money given to and spent by committees can be accessed via the Committee Search tab. The Committee Search lets users view a committee’s registration or financial reports. Users may search by committee name, the election year, or the committee type. If multiple committees come up, make sure to select the check box of the relevant committee. Broader searches may be run by filtering for Committee Type or Election Year instead of name.

To directly access data about contributions received by candidates or committees without having to comb through each individual finance report, use the Contribution Search function. The Contribution Search includes a “Search Type” dropdown menu to access contribution information for a:

  • Candidate.
  • Contributor (Candidate). This search option allows users to access information about the individual donors to candidate campaigns. If the name of the contributor is known, users may search by their name to view all recorded candidate. Broader searches may be run by filtering for Political Party, Campaign Type, Office Sought, Contribution Amount, Election Year, or Reporting Date Range instead of name.
  • Committee. Information about contributions given to committees can be directly searched here. Users may search for this information for individual committees by searching for the committee’s name. Broader searches may be run by filtering for Contribution Type, Contribution Amount, or Election Year instead of name.
  • Contributor (Committee). This search option allows users to access information about individuals or committees who have given money to committees. If the name of the contributor is known, users may search by name to view all the recorded contributions they have given to committees. Broader searches may be run by filtering for Contribution Amount or Election Year instead of name.

To directly access data about expenditures made (money spent) by candidates or committees without having to comb through each individual finance report, use the Expenditure Search function. The Expenditure Search includes a “Search Type” dropdown menu to access contribution information for a:

  • Candidate. Information about expenditures made (money spent) by candidates can be directly searched here. Users may search for expenditures made by an individual candidate’s campaign by searching for the candidate’s name. Broader searches may be run by filtering for Office Sought, Expenditure Amount, or Election Year instead of name.
  • Payee (Candidate). This search shows what entity or business a candidate paid for campaign-related expenses. If the name of the entity paid by a candidate’s campaign is known, users may search by the entity’s name to view all recorded expenditures made to them. Broader searches may be run by filtering for Political Party, Campaign Type, Office Sought, Expenditure Amount, Election Year, or Reporting Date Range instead of name.
  • Committee. Information pertaining to expenditures made (money spent) by committees can be directly searched here. Users may search for this information for individual committees by searching for the committee’s name. Broader searches may be run by filtering for Expenditure Amount or Election Year instead of name. Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications may also be individually searched.
  • Payee (Committee). This search shows what entity or business a committee paid for elections-related expenditures (expenses). If the name of the entity an expenditure was made to is known, users may search them by name to view all recorded expenditures made to them. Broader searches may be run by filtering for Expenditure Amount or Election Year instead of name. Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications may also be individually searched.

* Note that only five records appear at a time. To increase search results, select the dropdown Display tab to display up to 100 results per page (see image below).

* To view contribution or expenditure search results in an Excel spreadsheet, click the “Download” icon from the search result menu.

* Please note that there is NOT a way to download or view contribution and expenditure information for all candidates and committees at one time. Because each election will have hundreds or thousands of candidates running for office and hundreds or thousands of political committees supporting or opposing them, there is too much information in the system for it to all be pulled in a single batch! Searches are limited to one candidate or committee for one election year at a time.

* Keep in mind that data takes time to load. Make sure your browser screen does not time out while this data processes and do not refresh your browser.