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Develop CircleCI

Master Dependency Status

Campaign finance for everyone

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) releases information to the public about money that’s raised and spent in federal elections — that’s elections for US President, Senate, and House of Representatives.

Are you interested in seeing how much money a candidate raised? Or spent? How much debt they took on? Who contributed to their campaign? The FEC is the authoritative source for that information.

The new is a collaboration between 18F and the FEC. It aims to make campaign finance information more accessible (and understandable) to all users.

FEC repositories

We welcome you to explore, make suggestions, and contribute to our code.

This repository, fec-cms, houses the content management system (CMS) for the new

  • FEC: a general discussion forum. We compile feedback from the feedback widget here, and this is the best place to submit general feedback.
  • openFEC: the first RESTful API for the Federal Election Commission
  • fec-cms: the content management system (CMS) for the new This project uses Wagtail, an open source CMS written in Python and built on the Django framework.

Get involved

We’re thrilled you want to get involved!

  • Read our contributing guidelines. Then, file an issue or submit a pull request.
  • Send us an email at
  • If you're a developer, follow the installation instructions in the page of each repository to run the apps on your computer.

Set up

We are always trying to improve our documentation. If you have suggestions or run into problems please file an issue!

Project prerequisites

  1. Ensure you have the following requirements installed:

    • Python (the latest 3.5 release, which includes pip and and a built-in version of virtualenv called venv).
    • The latest long term support (LTS) or stable release of Node.js (which includes npm).
    • PostgreSQL (the latest 9.6 release).
  2. Set up your Node environment — learn how to do this with our Javascript Ecosystem Guide.

  3. Set up your Python environment — learn how to do this with our Python Ecosystem Guide.

  4. Clone this repository.

Install project dependencies

Use pip to install the Python dependencies:

pip install -r requirements.txt

Use npm to install JavaScript dependencies:

npm install

Give default user privileges to create database

If you would like your default user to create the database, alter their user role:

sudo su - postgres
alter user [default_username] createdb;

Create local databases

Before you can run this project locally, you'll need a development database:

createdb cfdm_cms_test
Load our sample data into the local development database:

For details see the section below: Restoring your local database from a backup

Set environment variables

You will also need to set the environment variables:

Set local environment variables

Connection string for the local database as an environment variable:

export DATABASE_URL=postgresql://:@/cfdm_cms_test

running with openFEC API

By default, FEC_API_URL points to the local running instance of the API (http://localhost:5000). To set the URL for the API as an environment variable, run:

export FEC_API_URL=http://localhost:5000

Set it to either production, dev, or staging API URLs if you are not running the API locally.

for example: (prod API) export FEC_API_URL=

The base settings file will read this value in instead of using the default (which is http://localhost:5000).


Finish project setup

Once all prerequisites and dependencies are installed, you can finish the project setup by running these commands:

npm run build
cd fec/
./ migrate
./ createsuperuser

Running the application

In the root project folder, run:

cd fec/
./ runserver

Front End Development

Front end assets are all located in /fec/fec/static/*.

Icon building

Icons only need to be built if there are new SVG files in the /fec/fec/static/icons/input directory, which transforms that SVG file into a SCSS variable to be used on the stylesheets.

npm run build-icons

SCSS compilation

npm run build-sass

JavaScript compilation

npm run build-js

Compilation of both SCSS and JS files

npm run build

Command to watch for SCSS and JS changes

npm run watch

Running tests

There are two kinds of tests that you can run with the project, Python tests and JavaScript tests.

To run the JavaScript tests, run this command in the root project directory:

npm run test-single

Note: You may be prompted to allow node to accept connections; this is okay and required for the tests to run.

To run the Python tests, run these commands in the root project directory:

cd fec/
./ test

It's necessary to specify the Postgresql URL, which can be done on the command line, e.g.:

env DATABASE_URL=postgresql://:@/cfdm_cms_test ./ test

Enabling/toggling features

settings/ includes a set of FEATURES which can also be enabled using environment flags:

FEC_FEATURE_LEGAL=1 python fec/ runserver

Additional local development instructions

Watch for static asset changes

To watch for changes to JavaScript files, run this command in the root project directory:

npm run watch

Restoring your local database from a backup

Likely only useful for FEC team members

Load our sample data into the local development database from a production backup

first download the web app sample database dump

FEC team can download from the project's google drive folder: CMS DB Backups

then save the file to a local drive: <path/to/backup_file>

then run this command:

pg_restore --dbname cfdm_cms_test --no-acl --no-owner <path/to/backup_file>

Lastly run migrations to account for any very recent changes that are not present in the latest backup run this command: ./ migrate


Likely only useful for FEC team members

We use Travis for automated deploys after tests pass. If you want to deploy something it is much better to push an empty commit with a tag than doing a manual deploy.

If there is a problem with Travis and something needs to be deployed, you can do so with the following commands. Though, you will need to pull the environment variables from the space you are deploying to and remake your static assets. That will ensure things like the links are correct. You will also want to clear your dist/ directory. That way, you will not exceed the alloted space.

Before deploying, install the Cloud Foundry CLI and the autopilot plugin:

cf install-plugin autopilot -r CF-Community

Provision development database:

cf create-service rds micro-psql fec-rds-stage

Provision credentials service:

cf cups cms-creds-dev -p '{"DJANGO_SECRET_KEY": "..."}'

To deploy to Cloud Foundry, run invoke deploy. The deploy task will attempt to detect the appropriate Cloud Foundry space based the current branch; to override, pass the optional --space flag:

invoke deploy --space feature

The deploy task will use the FEC_CF_USERNAME and FEC_CF_PASSWORD environment variables to log in. If these variables are not provided, you will be prompted for your Cloud Foundry credentials.

Deploys of a single app can be performed manually by targeting the env/space, and specifying the corresponding manifest, as well as the app you want, like so:

cf target -s [feature|dev|stage|prod] && cf push -f manifest_<[feature|dev|stage|prod]>.yml [api|cms]

NOTE: Performing a deploy in this manner will result in a brief period of downtime.

A note about deploying to the feature space

As noted above, you can manually deploy the application if you specify the space you want to deploy to, e.g., invoke deploy --space feature.

In the case of the feature space, there are a few things to note:

  • To deploy to the feature space, an automated deployer account has been set up. To trigger, go to the file DEPLOY_RULES here.
  • Only the CMS app is setup and configured for the feature space; it points to the dev space for all other things (e.g., the API).
  • The feature version of the CMS does have New Relic running against it.
  • The CMS in the feature space has its own database that has been loaded with data from a production backup; this data can be refreshed in the future using the same steps outlined in the Wiki.
  • The feature space has its own S3 bucket for content.


Likely only useful for FEC team members

You can SSH directly into the running app container to help troubleshoot or inspect things with the instance(s). Run the following command:

cf ssh <app name>

Where is the name of the application instance you want to connect to. Once you are logged into the remote secure shell, you'll also want to run this command to setup the shell environment correctly:

. /home/vcap/app/bin/

More information about using SSH with cloud.dov can be found in the SSH documentation.


Accounts are handled in the cms admin. All accounts will be reviewed annually.

Licensing and attribution

A few parts of this project are not in the public domain. Attribution and licensing information for those parts are described in detail in

The rest of this project is in the worldwide public domain, released under the CC0 1.0 Universal public domain dedication. Read more in

A few restrictions limit the way you can use FEC data. For example, you can't use contributor lists for commercial purposes or to solicit donations. Learn more on