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 "Illinois":

"… e who is calling the shots and where the money is being spent. Though the Illinois state senate is long behind Barack Obama, the president has been a hot top …"

'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 "Mortgage":

"… year. When they moved out, she was unable to find another tenant. CitiMortgage filed a foreclosure action in July 2009. In February, 2010, Mainor s …"

"… y, 2010, Mainor sent a three-page handwritten “hardship letter” to CitiMortgage asking for a deed in lieu of foreclosure as she was unable to fix up the p …"

"… safe and comfortable environment for my grandchildren,” she wrote to CitiMortgage. “Being able to qualify for a deed in lieu will alleviate some of the di …"

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 "National Rifle Association":

"… the firearms available, Berman said. “The problem of course is the NRA (National Rifle Association) and their interpretation that any attempt even to talk about safe storage …"

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 "Senate":

"… g nuclear arsenal. Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, at a March 5 Senate Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing, called the White House’s pro …"

"… dgeting reflects excessive zeal to implement Obama’s pledge, made during Senate debate over ratification of a 2010 nuclear arms treaty with Russia, that h …"

"… modernize the nuclear weapons that remained after agreed reductions. At a Senate Energy and Water appropriations subcommittee hearing April 9, Sen. Diane F …"

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 "Senate":

"… ant campaign account, an amount he's largely sat on since leaving the U.S. Senate in early 2011. That's more than any other former member of Congress who i …"

"… e subject to state law." But say a state governor decides to run for U.S. Senate. Federal campaign law explicitly bars this politico from directly using fu …"

"… tive to have a second act on his first, big electoral stage. While in the Senate, Bayh flirted with, then ultimately decided against a 2008 presidential bi …"

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 "chemical":

"… ong fight with cancer that his family believes he contracted from a DuPont chemical he applied to his Florida strawberry fields. DuPont recalled the fungicide …"

"… alled the fungicide, Benlate, and paid him for his lost crops but said the chemical wouldn’t harm people. Ramirez sued the company after he was diagnosed w …"

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 "Ethics in Government Act":

"… re required to explain the reasons for the redactions. The post-Watergate Ethics in Government Act of 1978 required federal judges, along with legislative and executive bran …"

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 "Congress":

"… ny are spreading money around Washington, enlisting like-minded members of Congress to write letters, propose legislation, hold hearings and threaten agency b …"

"… ; members’ voting records; public statements; and correspondence between Congress and financial regulators to identify the House’s unofficial banking cauc …"

"… trates hearings, decides which proposals by regulators merit a letter from Congress and who should sign that letter, according to former committee staffers wh …"

"… aucus have close ties to the financial industry predating their arrival in Congress, making them especially reliable in corraling cosponsors for a bill or sig …"

'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 "North Carolina":

"… tes. “I think it’s a really dangerous situation.” Suttles, based in North Carolina, points to recent environmental incidents in the state including the Duke …"

"… state including the Duke Energy coal ash spill into the Dan River. In North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory worked for Duke Energy for 29 years before taking office …"

"… told the EPA that each of the six states his group represents — Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia and Tennessee — ranks high in terms o …"

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 "Annie E. Casey Foundation":

"… education and job preparation in certain states, says a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. African-American kids face especially daunting obstacles in Mississippi, …"

"… ob creation. The Center for Public Integrity has received grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to pursue independent reporting. …"

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 "Sheldon Adelson":

"… stricts to aid children with special needs. Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, the Republicans’ biggest political financier last election cycle who do …"

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 "Eli Lilly":

"… and health industries. Of these donations, the largest was from drug-maker Eli Lilly’s PAC in the amount of $7,500.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alab …"

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 "chief financial officer":

"… ious internal goals. The firm’s chairman set the revenue targets and its chief financial officer enforced them by deciding “how many cases needed to be reviewed or dumpe …"

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 "Texas Ethics Commission":

"… le aren't),” the paper wrote. “The Texas Legislature and the Texas Ethics Commission are on notice.” Other comments The District of Columbia (15 …"

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 "National Rifle Association":

"… ndiary issue of guns. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, held a press conference one week after the shooting, calling on Cong …"

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 "Sheldon Adelson":

"… uper PACs last year. For example, the No. 1 super donor was casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a Republican who spent about $100 million, including some $40 million in …"

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 "Alabama":

"… as brought by Shaun McCutcheon, a businessman and Republican activist from Alabama. The aggregate contribution limit to candidates — $48,600 for the 2013- …"

"… ted about $30,000 to Republican Party committees, including $20,000 to the Alabama Republican Party. He furthermore gave more than $300,000 to two super PAC …"

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 "Politics":

"… political analyst Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics told the Center for Public Integrity. “Whatever way they can influence t …"

"… or Public Integrity review of data maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics. Of that sum, nearly two-thirds went to Democrats, including $400,000 to …"

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 "Nebraska":

"… Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, …"

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 "Alabama":

"… . The others hail from seemingly everywhere but: North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio and California, among others, according to fede …"