Data Explanation for Texas

Data Acquisition

The Texas Ethics Commission provides access to campaign finance reports in two forms, with three options to select from on the Search Campaign Finance Reports page:

  • Custom Search of Campaign Finance Reports
  • Database of Campaign Finance Reports
    • Campaign Finance CSV Database – allows a user to download a ZIP file containing comma-separated-value files including all available data. The content of these files is explained here.

Transparency USA imports the “Campaign Finance CSV Database.” Here’s how those files are categorized, and how they are represented on our site.

Reported Data

After importing the Texas CSV data, the reported campaign finance information is organized into the following alphabetized categories: Assets, Candidates Receiving Direct Campaign Expenditure, Contributions, Cover Sheets, Credits, Debts, Expenditures, Filers, Final Reports, Loans, Pledges, Specific-Purpose Committees, and Travel Outside of the US. 

Explanations are provided below. Transparency USA uses data from five of the available categories.

Assets

These records are described by Texas as “Assets valued at $500 or more for judicial filers only.”

Transparency USA currently does not import any data from these files.

Candidates Receiving Direct Campaign Expenditure 

Texas says the following about records in these files:

“Candidates benefiting from a direct campaign expenditure. A direct campaign expenditure to benefit a candidate is not a political contribution to that candidate. Instead, a direct campaign expenditure is a campaign expenditure made on someone else’s behalf and without the prior consent or approval of that person.”

Transparency USA does not currently import these records because they are already represented in the expenditure files.

Contributions

These reports include all contributions, including monetary and non-monetary in-kind contributions.

Transparency USA imports all data from these files without differentiating between contribution types, and works to deduplicate records that were reported in overlapping or amended reports.

Cover Sheets

Cover sheets contain summary information about each report filed by a PAC. Transparency USA uses these for deduplication efforts, import and validation purposes, but does not display them on the site.

Credits

These records include non-contribution money received by the campaign, described by Texas as “interest, credits, gains, refunds, and contributions returned to filer.”

Transparency USA does not yet import this data for Texas, as we do with some other states. We’re in the process of adding reported credits to the Texas database, and will begin displaying it soon.

Debts

These records include outstanding loans to judicial candidates.

Transparency USA does not import this data.

Expenditures

Organizations report money spent or donated to others as expenditures.

Transparency USA imports all data from these files and makes an effort to deduplicate records that were reported in overlapping or amended reports.

Filers

These records describe each political action committee (PAC) registered in Texas.

Transparency USA imports the committee name and unique state identification number.

Final Reports

These reports are for filers that are closing down and ending their filing obligations.

Transparency USA does not import this data.

Loans

Filers must report loans received.

Transparency USA imports these, and displays them in our loans tab. Loan repayments are listed as expenditures.

Pledges

If a supporter commits to contributing a certain amount of money to a committee and the committee agrees to accept it, it must be reported, even though the contribution has not actually changed hands, yet.

When money does finally change hands, it will be reported as a contribution.

Transparency USA does not import this data, in order to avoid duplicate reports of the pledge and corresponding contribution.

Specific-Purpose Committees

According to the Texas Ethics Commission, these reports contain links between specific-purpose committees (FILER_TYPE = SPAC, JSPC and SCPC) and the candidates/office holders they support, oppose or assist.

Transparency USA does not currently use this data.

Travel Outside the State of Texas

Records in these files are linked to contributions, pledges, and expenditures, and provide some additional information about travel out of state.

Transparency USA does not use these records, because this data is included within the reported contributions and expenditures.