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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… ther a candidate supports the Affordable Care Act.” …"

"… l political office so far in the run-up to Nov. 4, according to the latest Center for Public Integrity analysis of data from media tracking service Kantar Media/CMAG. …"

'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 "Florida":

"… r it was foreclosing on her tiny yellow ranch-style house in Jacksonville, Florida, after the 45-year-old mother of three fell behind on her payments. When Y …"

"… long delays in Young’s case to the slow judicial foreclosure process in Florida and complications related to Young’s original lender which went out of b …"

"… ad in recent years throughout the country, but are especially prevalent in Florida, where as of June 2, 48,630 homes in some stage of foreclosure sat vacant, …"

"… oreclosures come in two forms. The first is the unintentional byproduct of Florida’s judicial foreclosure process, which can take months and result in “p …"

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 "Delaware":

"… states seeking suicide data for 2012, the most recent year available, but Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island denied r …"

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 "Office of Management and Budget":

"… ted Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to get an extra billion dollars from the Office of Management and Budget so he could expand both nuclear weapons and nonproliferation spending at t …"

"… the National Security Council, agreed with Sylvia Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, that nonproliferation spending would be reduced while weapons programs we …"

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 "George Miller":

"… s to make real adjustments. And a report published last year by U.S. Reps. George Miller, D-Calif., and Jim McGovern, D-Mass., highlighted the continued obstacles …"

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 "senior adviser":

"… day works as a partner at law and lobbying firm McGuireWoods and as a senior adviser at asset management firm Apollo Global Management. Asked what he plans to …"

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 "United States":

"… conflicts on their own. In September 2006, the Judicial Conference of the United States, a group of judges who oversee and set policy for the U.S. Courts, adopted …"

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 "registered lobbyist":

"… Circuit Judge Ann Williams’ husband, a banking executive who was also a registered lobbyist at the time. Neither the judges, nor the court system, are required to ex …"

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 "chairwoman":

"… nvolved as possible … and certainly when someone with the stature of the chairwoman expresses interest, we want to help as much as we can,” said James …"

'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 "Democratic Party":

"… before the Supreme Court struck down the aggregate contribution limits.) Democratic Party groups might also create new jumbo-joint fundraising committees to boost t …"

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 "California":

"… ile cases including a Clean Water Act prosecution of Wal-Mart in California, and a Clean Air Act criminal and civil case against a New …"

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 "Florida":

"… ng states with significant Hispanic populations, in Virginia, Maryland and Florida. Black kids did best in Massachusetts and Maryland, among states that have …"

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 "Medicaid":

"… ce plan if they are not eligible for a government program like Medicare or Medicaid — is among the most vilified by today’s GOP. “If they were supporti …"

"… orgia, where Sullivan was born and still lives, have refused to expand the Medicaid program to bring more low-incomes individuals and families into coverage, …"

"… erage, as the Affordable Care Act makes possible. Deal has said expanding Medicaid “is something our state cannot afford,” even with the federal governme …"

"… urnalists Thursday that, in his view, Georgia can’t afford not to expand Medicaid. Not only would the expansion bring hundreds of thousands of Georgians int …"

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 "Koch Industries":

"… Officials representing the various Koch foundations, as well as those at Koch Industries Inc., did not respond to phone and email requests seeking comment about th …"

"… ne Studies’ board of directors and a Mercatus Center board member. Koch Industries Executive Vice President Richard Fink is a Mercatus Center and Institute f …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… e” nonprofit arm of the Alabama House Republican Caucus during 2012, the Center for Public Integrity has learned. The Alabama House Republican Conference, organized under sec …"

"… s and special interests to hobnob with them — for a price. But when the Center for Public Integrity asked Rachel Adams, the communications director for Alabama House Speaker …"

"… ducation Association. Each entity donated between $5,000 and $15,000. The Center for Public Integrity also discovered that Pfizer, which produces such popular brands as Advil,& …"

"… 3,600 in 2012 from an unknown number of anonymous donors. Research by the Center for Public Integrity has, however, revealed the identity of one of these donors: rail company N …"

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 "Iowa":

"… udges face the same disclosure requirements as other statewide officials. Iowa officials were similarly unperturbed. The state earned 17.5 poin …"

"… 17.5 points out of 100. “The Center’s report and rating as applied to Iowa judges appears to be a solution in search of a problem,” said Guy Cook, …"

"… o be a solution in search of a problem,” said Guy Cook, president of the Iowa State Bar Association and a Des Moines lawyer. Sen. Rob Hogg, chairman of …"

"… ittee, said the state’s court system is of the “highest integrity.” Iowa had one of the oddest rules — judges “are allowed to receive gifts wor …"

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 "Alabama":

"… lls in at least 34 states, with six other states actually passing laws — Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas — according to NCSL. S …"

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 "Alabama":

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

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 "Alabama":

"… named for its lead plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican activist from Alabama. McCutcheon's lawyers today argued that such limits, which are indexed to …"

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 "Sheldon Adelson":

"… super PAC of the anti-tax Club for Growth. Meanwhile, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson — who became a household name during the 2012 election for his deep …"

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 "Center for Responsive Politics":

"… or Public Integrity review of campaign finance data maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics. "This was an inadvertent error, and a refund has already been requested, …"

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 "Alabama":

"… S. Supreme Court will soon consider, made an excessive contribution to the Alabama Republican Party’s federal political committee last year, records show. …"

"… ds show. McCutcheon, a general contractor by trade, donated $1,000 to the Alabama Republican Party on Nov. 12, 2012, according to a Center for Public Integr …"

"… e AL GOP to advise them to redesignate or refund.” Mallory Jackson, the Alabama Republican Party’s treasurer, told the Center for Public Integrity that …"

"… n place to avoid this situation, but it does not catch everything." Under Alabama law, individuals are allowed to donate unlimited amounts to state politica …"

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 "Oxbow":

"… ate change, which could mean costly new regulations for Koch’s expansive Oxbow Carbon LLC business network. Unlike his brothers who have favored politic …"

"… traditional political action committee are at an all-time high — as are Oxbow’s lobbying expenditures. “Energy companies see a threat to their bott …"

"… ns United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010 the way Koch’s Oxbow Carbon LLC did. The decision allowed corporations to use treasury funds t …"

"… candidates — or give them to intermediaries, like super PACs. In 2012, Oxbow was at the vanguard, contributing millions to Republican super PACs — mo …"

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 "Virginia":

"… ee Gabriel Gomez, who lost last month to Markey. It also hired a separate, Virginia-based firm for similar work, paying it about $143,000. But some outside g …"

"… elevision ads from a range of states including Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. It’s a practice Keller called “pretty common,” a …"

"… a range of states including Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. It’s a practice Keller called “pretty common,” and that Club for G …"

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 Hampshire":

"… na, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tenness …"

Colbert Busch backed by D.C.-based groups

By Dave Levinthal

Nearly all independent expenditures made in S.C. special election come from beltway benefactors.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Stephen Colbert":

"… which features the state’s philandering former governor against comedian Stephen Colbert’s comparatively unknown sister, could foreshadow outside groups’ activ …"

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