Monday, April 8, 2013

2012 BC Political Party Financial Returns - part 1 of many

Each year in the first week of April all the financials of the political parties in BC are released by Elections BC on a searchable database - it is a lot of data.   There are three data sets.

The one database is of the reports filed by the political parties, leadership candidates, election candidates and constituency associations.    This database has fewer records, but they are all in pdf form and you need read each one of them separately.

The second database is any contribution of more than $250 to any political party, candidate or constituency    This data set has everything recorded as reported by the political parties, each controbution is recorded separately and you have to go through all the records by hand to match up many of the contributions to get an idea of how much was given in a calendar year.  Also, if you search for a name and do not get it quite right

The third is a database that is for combined contributions to a political party, its constituency associations and its candidates with a total value greater than $250 during a reporting period

The data is in a fairly raw format so many pieces of interesting information are not readily available unless you do some significant analysis.   As an example, the full database of 2012 contributions over $250 to political parties is about 44,000 records long.   One reason it is that long is that each contribution is recorded separately  so if you give $25 a month you would be recorded in the database 12 times.

What I am going to attempt to do is highlight some interesting things I have gleaned for the data.

Fundraising in the year before the 2013 and 2009 elections by the NDP and Liberals:

               BCLibs 2012 BCLibs 2008 BCNDP 2012  BCNDP 2008
Total contrib. $10,147,125 $7,880,200  $6,996,311  $2,868,368
Corp donations  $5,027,350 $4,708,324    $996,770     $38,215
Union donations     $2,380     $3,040  $1,637,983    $526,705

What stands out for me is the dramatic increase in NDP fundraising.   The NDP is $4,000,000 up in 2012 compared to where it was at the end 2008.   Not only is the NDP now getting corporate donations of a significant amount, it took in $1.1 million more in union donations in 2012 compared to 2008.

In 2008 the NDP raised 36% of what the Liberals did, in 2012 they managed to raise 69% of what the Liberals raised.    I have not yet added up how much the NDP.    The NDP is no longer the poor cousin of BC politics.   2012 was the best fundraising year for the NDP in BC.  

If we can use 2008 and 2009 as a guide for how much money the Liberals and NDP will raise in 2013, I think we could see the NDP raise between $9,000,000 and $11,000,000 and the Liberals $13,000,000 to $15,000,000 for a combined financial war chest of the two parties of  about $24,000,000 or $8 per voter.   This will be an increase of 30% from 2009.    The parties spent $27 million in 2009, $8.5 million more than they raised, if that patterns holds in 2013 we could see spending of around $35 million.  The other option is that the parties might not spend more than they bring in.

The money raised and spent by all the other political parties in BC in 2012 amounts to only about 2.5% of all of the political money in BC.

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