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Learn About The Candidates Through Public Records

October 10th, 2008 · No Comments · Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, federal, FOIA, Illinois, Using Public Records

With two presidential debates and the one and only vice presidential debate complete, are you satisfied with the information provided by the candidates? It has been a truly long and historic campaign season, but there is still a lot to know before November 4th. As everyone is probably quite aware of at this point, the economy is in the dumps, billions of dollars are being spent on two wars, and the health care and educational systems are not up to the high standards worthy of a leading nation. So, this election could be one of the most important decisions of this generation. One way to know where the candidates stands is by reviewing their policies and plans, which are often available on the candidates ‘ web pages. However, if you want to dig a little deeper, looking into the past of the candidates may provide even more insight.

John McCain, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden have all been under a pretty tight microscope, but sometimes knowing about someone’s past and present lives can provide a glimpse into the type of person they are. I ‘ve found the public records are a great way to find out additional information about the candidates for president and vice president. One of the great things about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is that certain records are required to be made accessible by the general public. Through public records, you can find information as basic as contact information and as politically engaging as campaign finance reports. Below is a list of some great resources available through public records:

Contact Information: Search government databases to find contact information for any office. You can use this to access web pages or perhaps put in a call to a political office. For example here you can send an email to Senator Joe Biden.

Campaign Finance Reports: Campaign finance reports address what avenues candidates receive donations from. You can view the names of contributors, dates of contributions, and amount. Campaign finance reports also show expenditures from a campaign.

Court Records: Are any of the candidates involved in litigation or were they involved in litigation in the past? Most court records are public records, and, where available, online searches can be performed by name.

Land Records: These public records allow you to view information about land or property owned by a candidate (or any other person of interest). You can often find out mortgage, owner, and property tax information.

The Free Public Records Directory provides access to all these public records, and more. You can choose the state where a candidate resides or is currently holding office (i.e.: Arizona, Alaska, Delaware, or Illinois), and then choose from a list of public records categories to search.

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