Randy Yohe Published

W.Va. Campaign Finances Open To The Public

A large pile of banknotes, cash2bgr8/Deviantart

With many candidates for 2024 state offices announcing early, campaign finances are beginning to flow. 

This is what is known as the pre-candidate stage in the election cycle. To legally begin financing a campaign, candidates have to file with the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office. As a pre-candidate, one is not bound to run for office. On the SOS website, under elections, there’s a campaign finance reporting system tab. 

Once filed for pre-candidacy, candidates must deliver detailed quarterly finance reports to the SOS. Missy Kinder, campaign finance specialist, said on the reporting system website the public can see how much money candidates have received from a person or group – and how much the candidate has spent.

Missy Kinder, campaign finance specialist in the Secretary of State’s office.

“You can sort through the data by the race they’re entering, by office, by their political affiliation, there’s just several different ways that you can find the information that you’re looking for,” Kinder said.

Kinder said the website details money from fundraising events, campaign loans and just who is contributing to campaigns.

“If you’re looking to see if a certain individual has given to candidates, you can even break it down that far,” she said. “If they have contributed any expenditures that a particular candidate has made, you can search through that. There’s also a data download portion of our website that you can go to and that will show any transactions that have occurred in a regular calendar year.”

Relating to transparency in the election cycle, Kinder said it’s important to show that campaign contributions are coming from reliable sources legally allowed to give. 

Corporations cannot give,” she said. “If that corporation would have a separate segregated PAC, a political action committee, that political action committee can give. It all comes from West Virginia State Code.” 

Kinder said the public can call or email the Secretary of State’s office if they have any issues with navigating the campaign finance reporting system site.

Candidates can officially file for state office from January 8 – 27 of 2024.