Spreadsheets Can't Handle Democrats' Haul

FEC, watchdogs, Excel struggle to keep up with bulging bank accounts
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2008 11:16 AM CDT
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., talks with a woman as she pauses before signing an autograph, during a campaign stop at a Cuban social club, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Sunday, May 25, 2008.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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(Newser) – The Democratic presidential candidates have raised so much money that the FEC can’t handle the data, Politico reports. Barack Obama’s January report was so big that industry standard spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel 2003 couldn’t handle it. By March, Hillary Clinton had also broken the Excel barrier—a mere 65,536 rows and 256 columns.

At least one Obama report was published online a day late because the FEC’s automated software couldn’t process it. The huge reports have undermined efforts by the FEC and others to provide user-friendly campaign finance data. “Our people are working harder than ever and faster than ever because the candidates are raising more money more quickly than ever,” said a research group rep.