Weekly Watchdog: Our new blog sheds light on secret spenders

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Last year, the Center for Public Integrity’s investigative work was cited nearly 15,000 times by other media organizations. I expect that number will grow this year. That’s in part because of a new Center project launched this week called Primary Source.

Primary Source will publish daily original reports on all things influence-related: examinations and analyses of primary source documents pertaining to political contributions, spending, lobbying and other forms of special interest influence.  Primary Source is part of the Center for Public Integrity's larger Consider the Source project that focuses on developments in the post-Citizens United world of money and politics.

The 2012 campaign may be over, but the money and influence game continues apace. We want to show where the money comes from. For example, Primary Source reported that a brand new conservative group, American for a Strong Defense, just popped up two weeks ago and started buying hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads against the Senate confirmation of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary.

Meanwhile, Sara Palin’s super PAC (Sara PAC) still has $1.15 million in the bank and remains a political force, even if its namesake has dropped her Fox TV contract. And there is a new super PAC for Hillary Clinton, a group called "Ready for Hillary" registered Friday with the Federal Election Commission.

These and other influence updates will find their way to Primary Source with an eye on naming those who seek to manipulate public opinion and elected officials for political gain. Please bookmark Primary Source here, subscribe to its RSS feed here, follow daily updates on Twitter at @PublicI and "like" us on Facebook. Also be sure to send in your tips, hints and suggestions to tips@publicintegrity.org.