Mega-donors give big to state candidates

By Rachel Baye, Reity O'Brien and Ben Wieder

More than two dozen donors have given at least $1 million to state-level campaigns ahead of Nov. 4.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… est number of donations to candidates from the mega-donors so far are Texas, where individuals and political action committees can give candidates as …"

"… butions this cycle. Six-figure donations are the norm in marquee races in Texas. This cycle, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican running for …"

"… Six-figure donations are the norm in marquee races in Texas. This cycle, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican running for governor, received …"

"… him at least $350,000. Such large-scale giving does not carry a stigma in Texas of trying to buy access, according to Mark P. Jones, a political scie …"

Obama takes star turn in state political ads

By Ben Wieder

President and his policies take center stage in political ads, with more than 300,000 mentions, including in lower level state races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "president":

"… spent. Though the Illinois state senate is long behind Barack Obama, the president has been a hot topic in state-level elections this year.  The presid …"

"… sident has been a hot topic in state-level elections this year.  The president or his signature health care law have been mentioned in more than 1 out of …"

"… re than one-third of political ads in U.S. Senate races have mentioned the president, according to the Center’s analysis. Combined, more than 300,000 ads ha …"

"… mentioning Obama or the health care law. While it’s not unusual for the president to be invoked in federal races, the focus on Obama at the state level is c …"

'Zombie' homes haunt Florida neighborhoods

By Alison Fitzgerald and Jared Bennett

Neighborhoods devastated by thousands of abandoned homes as banks fail to follow through on foreclosures.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alabama":

"… for alleged predatory lending that led to abandoned homes, but Birmingham, Alabama’s lawsuit failed, according to Kathleen Engel, a law professor at Suffol …"

Firearms more likely to be used in suicides than in homicides

By Carmen Forman and Jacob Byk

At least 50 people died per day from firearm suicide; 26 died from firearm homicides.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alabama":

"… d not be reached. The FBI received limited homicide data from Illinois and Alabama and none from Florida. That firearm suicides outnumbered firearm homicide …"

Obama curbs nuclear security goals as bomb-building budget grows

By Douglas Birch

The White House rejected a confidential proposal to accelerate work on nuclear security problems despite a missed 2013 deadline.

Excerpts from this story referencing "White House":

"… ing that nuclear materials were safe from terrorists across the globe, the White House at about the same time rejected a confidential Energy Department-sponsored …"

"… t could be used in bombs that could contaminate large urban areas. But the White House, after an interagency struggle that climaxed at a Cabinet-level meeting in …"

"… on’s budget together, there were debates,” said Matthew Bunn, a former White House official and professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “Sho …"

"… weapons? It’s clear that weapons won that debate.” Laura Holgate, the White House senior director for weapons-of-mass-destruction terrorism, did not dispute …"

Is this U.S. coal giant funding violent union intimidation in Colombia?

By Rosalind Adams

Lawsuits allege Alabama-based Drummond Co., which mines coal in Colombia, has financial ties to groups that have threatened union leaders.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alabama":

"… e the mid-1990s. Drummond — a closely held company based in Birmingham, Alabama, with revenues that reached $3 billion last year—has helped Colombia bec …"

"… the backs of mules that were used to haul loads of coal from its mines in Alabama. Under the leadership of his son, Garry, the company expanded, securing a …"

"… tements under oath against Drummond. The decision of the appeals panel in Alabama’s 11th Circuit is pending; Collingsworth said he expects a ruling s …"

"… tion with Drummond, Adkins was making regular flights between Colombia and Alabama on a company plane. In Birmingham, he gave presentations to employees on h …"

Evan Bayh's multi-million-dollar head start?

By Dave Levinthal

If Democrat Evan Bayh runs for governor, he could tap nearly $10 million parked in his old Senate campaign account.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Indiana":

"… n 2005.     …"

"… all money raised for federal campaigns toward state-level political bids, Indiana Election Division Co-Director Trent Deckard confirmed in an email to the C …"

"… or Public Integrity previously reported. And it's exponentially more than Indiana's Republican Gov. Mike Pence reported having in his campaign fund at 2013' …"

"… I don't want to foreclose any possibilities at this time." Bayh served as Indiana's governor from 1989 to 1997, and as Jerry Brown in California has proven, …"

Case reopened after Center reveals judge's conflict of interest

By Kytja Weir

Center investigation identifies conflicted judge leading to new hearing for discrimination case.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alabama":

"… case.” The 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, covers Florida, Georgia and Alabama. The appellate courts are second only to the U.S. Supreme Court in terms o …"

Federal judges plead guilty

By Reity O'Brien, Kytja Weir and Chris Young

Judges acknowledge conflicts of interest Center found in 26 cases.

Excerpts from this story referencing "King":

"… ich a married couple on the 5th Circuit, Judges Thomas Reavley and Carolyn King, ruled on cases in which parties in the cases were energy companies that p …"

"… roperty. “I don’t think that’s a problem for him or for me,” said King. “I don’t think there are any recusal issues here.” Judges are not …"

"… n. “For most people, that’s the worst thing you can tell them,” said King, the 5th Circuit judge. But that doesn’t mean judges face any serious c …"

Information on judges' disclosures often blacked out

By Reity O'Brien, Kytja Weir and Chris Young

More than 40 percent of federal appellate judges had portions of financial disclosures blacked out.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alabama":

"… him from threats. William G. Ross, a Samford University law professor in Alabama who specializes in judicial ethics, said it’s not easy for the courts to …"

"… 11th Circuit Judge Robert Vance was killed by a mail bomb delivered to his Alabama home. The U.S. Marshals Service provides security for all federal judges, …"

Meet the Banking Caucus, Wall Street's secret weapon in Washington

By Daniel Wagner and Alison Fitzgerald

Industry campaign cash flows to pro-bank activists in Congress, yielding big returns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Goldman Sachs Group Inc.":

"… nker who has worked for Wells Fargo and Citigroup. Himes spent 12 years at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. before joining a nonprofit housing group in 2002. He represents the tony N …"

'Jumbo joints': How big will the newest political animals get?

By Michael Beckel

Supreme Court ruling has emboldened political groups designed to serve as collective fundraising operations.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alabama":

"… ear. While plausible, Dan Backer — the conservative attorney who helped Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon bring the campaign finance lawsuit that now b …"

Residents of polluted U.S. communities fear planned cuts in EPA enforcement

By Ronnie Greene and Chris Hamby

The EPA's "Next Generation Compliance" plan would lead to fewer inspections of, and enforcement actions against, polluters.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… g industry, worry over failing health and pollution has intensified as the Environmental Protection Agency intends to significantly curtail the number of inspect …"

"… edent they set for performance of large facilities across the country.” Environmental advocates are not swayed. The planned reduction in federal enforcement c …"

"… perfect storm,” said John Suttles, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit handling Environmental cases in six states. “I …"

"… n before the spill, according to emails obtained by the Southern Environmental Law Center, state regulators consulted Duke Energy before seeking to exc …"

New report ranks best, worst states for kids of all ethnicities

By Susan Ferriss

Ethnic minority children will be majority of U.S. kids in four years, but face barriers to success in some places.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Baltimore":

"… clusions of “The Race for Results” report released Tuesday by Casey, a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization dedicated to solving problems faced by famili …"

GOP opposition to Obamacare baffles Dr. Sullivan

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: former HHS Secretary Sullivan says Obamacare resembles plan crafted by Republicans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "health insurance":

"… ate. That provision — the requirement that Americans enroll in a private health insurance plan if they are not eligible for a government program like Medicare or Me …"

"… he way it should be, (the law) will result in more people having access to health insurance, and improve the health status of our citizens," Sullivan told the Montgom …"

"… g the charge against Obamacare today — “had the similar concept of the health insurance exchange.” That plan also would have provided subsidies to help low-inco …"

Inside the Koch brothers' campus crusade

By Dave Levinthal

The billionaire industrialists aren’t just investing in politicians, but also young hearts and minds.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Dartmouth College":

"… figures, it does indicate that big-name colleges such as Brown University, Dartmouth College, Georgetown University, Syracuse University and Texas Tech University are …"

Documents reveal GOP group's secret donors

By Michael Beckel and Erin Quinn

Alabama Power, Pfizer among companies that helped fund the Alabama House Republican Conference in 2012.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alabama":

"… dam Wollner contributed to this report.     …"

"… Alabama Power, drugmaker Pfizer and insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama helped fund the secretive “social welfare” nonprofit arm of the Alabam …"

"… labama helped fund the secretive “social welfare” nonprofit arm of the Alabama House Republican Caucus during 2012, the Center for Public Integrity has l …"

"… ican Caucus during 2012, the Center for Public Integrity has learned. The Alabama House Republican Conference, organized under section 501(c)(4) of the U.S. …"

Justice Department says federal contractor routinely faked security clearance reviews

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Mattie Quinn

A court filing alleges that a Virginia firm failed to vet files properly for hundreds of thousands of federal clearance-holders

Excerpts from this story referencing "executive":

"… employees valuable stock, had revenues in 2010 of roughly $680 million, an executive of the firm said. Two of those whose security files it reviewed and approv …"

State judges: We don't need no stinkin' disclosure

By John Dunbar, Reity O'Brien, Kytja Weir and Chris Young

Officials defend limited financial disclosure for high court judges.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"…  Nestle spokesman Ian Metcalfe. …"

A year after Newtown, searching for answers in the nation’s schools

By Nicholas Kusnetz

A year after Newtown, communities searching for answers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "David Dewhurst":

"… ck Perry indicated his support for allowing more guns in schools. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst went further, calling for state funding to train teachers to carry guns (P …"

Obama campaign pocketed Ponzi schemer cash

By Alison Fitzgerald

Obama's campaign — and 38 others — have not returned political money from Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… that totaled about a penny for each dollar lost.     …"

Why 'McCutcheon' won't stop the influx of cash into politics

By Bill Buzenberg

Even if the FEC wins its Supreme Court case, super PACs and other groups will still be allowed to spend big in elections.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitt Romney":

"… ican Speaker of the House John Boehner and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. An aggregate limit on political contributions was enshrined into law by …"

Supreme Court mulls axing campaign donation limits in 'McCutcheon' case

By Michael Beckel

Nine justices appeared divided on 'McCutcheon' campaign money case.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitch McConnell":

"… was attorney Bobby Burchfield, who was representing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. A vocal supporter of campaign finance deregulation, McConnell filed …"

Supreme Court 'McCutcheon' case could aid GOP

By Michael Beckel

Conservative donors who maxed out during the 2012 election far outnumbered liberals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "candidate":

"… limit on contributions it will result in more money going to Republican candidates. The high court will on Tuesday hear oral arguments in McCutcheon v. Fed …"

"… deral Election Commission. At issue is whether total donations to multiple candidates and parties should continue to be capped. About 600 individuals hit the …"

"… individuals hit the then-$46,200 ceiling for campaign donations to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle, according to an analysis by the Center fo …"

"… percent gave with the same fervor to Democrats. The rest gave to a mix of candidates in both parties. These “maxed out” donors — who together could fit …"

Top Democratic donor breached aggregate contribution limit last year

By Michael Beckel

Fred Eychaner, the top Democratic super PAC donor in 2012, gave more money to federal candidates than legally allowed.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alabama":

"… y the Center for Public Integrity indicates. The revelation comes just as Alabama Republican activist Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee …"

Supreme Court plaintiff McCutcheon exceeded campaign contribution limit

By Michael Beckel

Lead plaintiff in upcoming Supreme Court campaign finance case gave Alabama GOP more money than federal law allows, records show.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitt Romney":

"… 15 federal candidates, including contributions to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Republican U.S. Senate candidates Josh Mandel of Ohio and Richard Mour …"

William Koch emerges from shadow of famous siblings

By Michael Beckel

William Koch's steadily increasing political activity has gotten relatively little notice compared to that of brothers Charles and David.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitt Romney":

"… n — went to Restore Our Future, the main super PAC supporting Republican Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful presidential bid. Meanwhile, $500,000 went to a group tha …"

D.C.-based groups spent big in special elections

By Dave Levinthal

Special interest super PACs and nonprofits from D.C. region poured millions into special elections.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alabama":

"… ause of past experiences working together and locations. “Do you fly to Alabama to get a mortgage?” he asked. “Do you drive to Minnesota to use to the …"

Treatment for troubled teens

Two Georgia youth offenders respond to intensive, at-home family-focused treatment.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alabama":

"… said Kate Cantrell, who directs Youth Villages’ programs in Georgia and Alabama. “It’s our job to help them see the benefit of participating in the pr …"

Lax state rules provide cover for sponsors of attack ads

By Alan Suderman

In 30 states it’s impossible to total how much money outside groups are spending on campaigns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New Mexico":

"… innesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wyomi …"

"… and misleading, just before an election. Six states — Alabama, Indiana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota and South Carolina — didn’t garner a single po …"

"… ing used to hide donors’ identities in both federal and state races. In New Mexico, outside political action groups spent heavily on races for the state Legi …"