Texas weakens chemical exposure guidelines, opens door for polluters

By Lisa Song and Rosalind Adams

Amid a fracking boom, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has quietly weakened air pollution guidelines for toxic chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "energy":

"… te, a year into his first term as Houston’s mayor. A deputy secretary of energy during the Clinton administration, White made air quality a priority durin …"

Governors and oil industry work hand in hand in offshore drilling group

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Lobbying firm, advocacy organization did much of the work.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bobby Jindal":

"… he federal government. The coalition’s first chairman was Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who as a congressman in 2006 sponsored a bill that would have remove …"

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 "Illinois":

"… isan National Institute on Money in State Politics, top donors include: Illinois Republican candidate Bruce Rauner, who has given more than $26 million, mo …"

"… ger Ken Griffin, who has given more than $4.7 million, mostly to Rauner in Illinois. The analysis is preliminary — the totals will only go up as more cont …"

"… said Brian Gaines, a political science professor at the University of Illinois. Limitations on influence But other donors who give directly to candidat …"

"… tical action committees can give candidates as much as they want, and Illinois, whose governor’s race allows unlimited contributions this cycle. Six-f …"

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 "Barack Obama":

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

'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 "Colombia":

"… t these injustices, and so we put our fate in the hands of God.” …"

"… Florez served as a local president of Sintramienergetica, a labor union in Colombia that represents the employees of Drummond Company, a U.S.-based coal-minin …"

"… ted, “Drummond has never paid or otherwise assisted any illegal group in Colombia, whether paramilitary or guerilla [sic].” Nonetheless, Drummond has bee …"

"… ham, Alabama, with revenues that reached $3 billion last year—has helped Colombia become the world’s fourth-largest coal exporter. Heman Drummond started …"

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 "Alabama":

"… a Democrat, is lucky he's not mulling a gubernatorial bid in, for example, Alabama. There, it's a felony for an office-seeker to "receive or spend, in a cam …"

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 "Judge":

"… of interest by one of its Judges. Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Susan Black vacated the original opinion in the case involving Jacobs Engi …"

"… by a new panel of Judges. Black tossed the decision because 11th Circuit Judge Frank Hull bought up to $15,000 worth of stock in Jacobs several months be …"

"… in which Judges had financial interests in a party with a case they heard. Judges cannot own even a single share of stock in companies that come before the …"

"… pril 28 story showed a lack of accountability in the federal court system. Judges face no formal punishment for breaking these rules. In response to the C …"

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 "Alabama":

"… eing no excuse.” William G. Ross, a Samford University law professor in Alabama who specializes in judicial ethics, said such failures undermine public co …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… rts of 111 of them had portions that were blacked out, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis. If visible, the blacked-out information would include deta …"

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 "vice chairman":

"… ict voiceless to say: this rule is going to hurt us,” said Duffy, who is vice chairman of Capito’s consumer credit subcommittee. Goldman Sachs has donated mor …"

'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 "National Republican Congressional Committee":

"… e organization can solicit up to $97,200 per donor annually to benefit the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National …"

"… as each beneficiary receives no more than the "base" limit. Likewise, the National Republican Congressional Committee could itself establish a similar effort. There are currently 15 members o …"

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 "Alabama":

"… e the aquifer that feeds their drinking water. In southeastern states from Alabama to Virginia, residents fear a cluster of coal-powered plants will impact t …"

"… x states his group represents — Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia and Tennessee — ranks high in terms of adverse health effects …"

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 "Alabama":

"… hallenges in South Dakota. Latino children are faring especially poorly in Alabama, Rhode Island and Nevada. West Virginia and Mississippi showed the worst r …"

GOP opposition to Obamacare baffles Dr. Sullivan

By Wendell Potter

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

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 "Newton":

"… ion through the Adelson Family Foundation to the Rashi School of Newton, Mass. — a kindergarten-through-eighth grade academy that touts its “j …"

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 "Alabama":

"… eneral in the Justice Department’s civil division and a U.S. attorney in Alabama, the Justice Department describes how systematic this was — to the point …"

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 "South Carolina":

"… as “a solution looking for a problem,” according to The Argus Leader. South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Toal called the Center’s study “very flawed,” acc …"

"… h,” Campsen said. “There are protections in place.” The Center gave South Carolina a failing grade largely because the materials available to the commission …"

"… ected. Room for improvement? There were also a few calls for reform. “South Carolina's judicial ethics standards are clearly lacking,” noted The Po …"

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 "spokesman":

"… in most districts to finance something like this,” said Gary Scharrer, a spokesman for former Sen. Tommy Williams, who co-sponsored the bill before resigning …"

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

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 "McCutcheon":

"… h that as well. The aggregate contribution limits are being challenged in McCutcheon v. FEC, named for its lead plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon. McCutcheon is an Al …"

"… being challenged in McCutcheon v. FEC, named for its lead plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon. McCutcheon is an Alabama general contractor by trade and a Republican act …"

"… enged in McCutcheon v. FEC, named for its lead plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon. McCutcheon is an Alabama general contractor by trade and a Republican activist, who i …"

"… al Donald Verrilli Jr. vigorously defended the aggregate limits during the McCutcheon case’s oral arguments on Tuesday. "Aggregate limits combat corruption," …"

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 "John Roberts":

"… of campaign finance rules. Judicial observers predict that Chief Justice John Roberts will be the swing vote in the McCutcheon case. During today's oral argumen …"

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 "Mitt Romney":

"… 15 federal candidates, including contributions to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Ohio Republican and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel and Indiana Republi …"

"… the then-$46,200 aggregate limit — to 16 Republican candidates including Mitt Romney, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McCo …"

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 "Sheldon Adelson":

"… e more than $90 million donated to Republican super PACs by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam. Ben Wieder contributed to this report.   …"

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 "United States":

"… Billy the Kid and Katy Perry Koch, who is the 92nd-richest person in the United States according to Forbes, is Oxbow Carbon LLC’s founder, president and chief …"

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 …"