'Radical animal rights movement' gets new foe

By Michael Beckel

An Iowa-based organization devoted to fighting 'the radical animal rights movement' has formed a super PAC.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Steve King":

"… Christie Vilsack, who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Republican Rep. Steve King. American Action Network, the social welfare nonprofit led by former GOP …"

Top U.S. corporations funneled $173 million to political nonprofits

By Michael Beckel

Analysis of company disclosures reveals steady flow of cash from corporations to social welfare organizations, trade associations.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission":

"… 85 million to $173 million. See here for more. The U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling in 2010 did not, as some warned, unleash a flood of corporate money …"

Pulling back the veil on corporate contributions

By Michael Beckel and Erin Quinn

New database pulls back veil on corporate giving to politically active nonprofits and covert ways companies advance their agendas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Legislative Exchange Council":

"… oundations, such as Third Way, the Republican Main Street Partnership, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heritage Foundation and the Congressional Black Caucus Political Educ …"

Shining a light on ALEC's power to shape policy

By Wendell Potter

Conservative group's power has been under-covered.

Excerpts from this story referencing "George Zimmerman":

"… pushing a stand-your-ground bill through the Florida legislature — which George Zimmerman used in his defense in the Trayvon Martin case — ALEC adopted it as a mo …"

'Dark money' groups give big to similar nonprofits

By Julie Patel

Politically active nonprofits frequently share money with one another while hiding donors, new tax filings show.

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Legislative Exchange Council":

"… America; $25,000 to American Commitment; and roughly $250,000 each to the American Legislative Exchange Council, Americans for Tax Reform and Freedom Path Inc. Another $50,000 went to Am …"

ALEC gets gift from Nuclear Energy Institute

By Michael Beckel

Controversial pro-business think tank received $10,000 from Nuclear Energy Institute last year, new documents show.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Third Way":

"… to 26 nonprofit organizations, including ALEC. Its top beneficiaries were Third Way, a Democratic-aligned group that claims to represent “Americans in the …"

OPINION: insurers hiding political spending

By Wendell Potter

Insurance firms don't want to say how much they're spending on lobbying and campaigns

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Legislative Exchange Council":

"… bying through trade associations and tax-exempt organizations, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, which drafts “model legislation” to protect business interests. At C …"

Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states

By Paul Abowd

Charity acts as screen for conservative foundations that feed network of state-based think tanks, media outlets.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… state Rep. Tom McMillin, who is also an ALEC member. Against the tide The California-based Tides Foundation, which Ball calls the “ideological opposite” of …"

Koch brothers pour more cash into think tanks, ALEC

By Paul Abowd

Billionaire Koch brothers continue to shower free-market causes with tax-exempt gifts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New York City":

"… 0 million grant giving in 2011 to the renovation of a theater in New York City. The Koch brothers' complete Internal Revenue Service Form 990 tax f …"

Nonprofit spends big on politics despite IRS limitation

By Michael Beckel

Questions raised about whether nonprofits like Koch-connected American Future Fund are primarily about politics.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Norm Coleman":

"… as a political committee after paying for ads that praised then-U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn. The FEC disagreed. Two years later, in October 2010, consumer gr …"

Arizona still waiting for Fiesta Bowl fixes

By Kathleen Ingley

Fiesta Bowl scandal has brought outrage, but no fixes

Excerpts from this story referencing "Arizona":

"… nd it isn’t over.The parade of bad news began in December 2009, when the Arizona Republic exposed the Fiesta Bowl’s scheme of urging employees to make ca …"

"… by legislators.Now, as the 2013 state legislative session approaches, many Arizonans believe the Legislature has not one Fiesta Bowl scandal, but two.The fir …"

"… n as if nothing ever happened.Rules, loopholes and historyAt first glance, Arizona would seem to have one of the nation’s strictest gift laws: a $10 annual …"

"… on of the football stadium that the bowl ultimately came to share with the Arizona Cardinals. The measure was killed in committee.Lawmakers can argue that th …"

ALEC's decades of 'right-to-work' effort pay off in Michigan

By Paul Abowd

Think tank’s 32-year 'right-to-work' campaign succeeds in union stronghold

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Legislative Exchange Council":

"… ry, and it marks the revival of an effort long promoted by the influential American Legislative Exchange Council, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that has seen its share of controversy …"

Drug lobby gave $750,000 to pro-Hatch nonprofit in Utah's U.S. Senate race

By Michael Beckel

IRS records show drug lobby helped Utah senator, others.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… expenditure if he'd lost.” Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California-Irvine law school, added that voters should have been informed of the dona …"

Daily Disclosure: Mystery group goes after Dems in Senate races

By Rachael Marcus

A conservative nonprofit with mysterious origins goes after Democratic Senate candidates.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wisconsin":

"… ican Future Fund announced the release of attack ads to run in Florida and Wisconsin, battlegrounds for control of the U.S. Senate.In Florida, Democratic Sen. …"

"… p. Connie Mack, R-Fla., according to the Center for Responsive Politics.In Wisconsin, Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin faces former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who won a …"

"… lag. The flag features illustrations of a miner and a sailor who represent Wisconsin’s connection to both land and sea. The two come to life in an animated f …"

"… s, according to the Daily Beast, and has received significant funding from Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Issues Mobilization Inc., according to that gro …"

Nonprofit profile: American Commitment

By Rachael Marcus

Quick stats on the nonprofit group, supporting conservatives

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… erican Commitment aired seven different television ads in Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and North Dakota, all opposing Democratic candidates. …"

"… Hartzler of Missouri.The group also made large ad buys over the summer in Florida, where it spent $1.1 million opposing Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, accordi …"

Daily Disclosure: Sierra Club pushes wind industry tax credit

By Rachael Marcus

The Sierra Club is going after Republican congressmen who oppose a tax credit for wind energy.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Koch":

"… nd energy.Both groups are partially funded by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.In a confidential memo obtained by The Guardian, a proposal from …"

"… ltra-conservative American Tradition Institute, which also has ties to the Koch brothers, proposed a national public relations campaign aimed at discredit …"

ALEC faces new challenge to tax-exempt status

By John Dunbar

A group of clergy is challenging the tax status of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Excerpts from this story referencing "America":

"… t businesses, the Republican Party, and legislators and not the public.The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “elevates commercial gain for a few …"

"… ism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general publi …"

ALEC anti-union push includes key players from Michigan, Arizona think tanks

By Paul Abowd

Goldwater Institute, Mackinac Center sponsored model bills at Charlotte summit

Excerpts from this story referencing "Arizona":

"… k center stage at last weekend’s ALEC Task Force Summit in Charlotte.The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute and the Michigan-based Mackinac Center between t …"

"… ed at ALEC’s conference last weekend, some of them were sponsored in the Arizona and Michigan legislatures by ALEC members.“Arizona is a petri dish for e …"

"… were sponsored in the Arizona and Michigan legislatures by ALEC members.“Arizona is a petri dish for extreme legislation,” says John Loredo, a former Hou …"

"… legislation,” says John Loredo, a former House minority leader there.The Arizona legislature has one of the largest contingents of ALEC legislators in the …"

Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s conservative media appearances pay off as he raises millions from out-of-state donors

By Kate Golden and Amy Karon

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's national conservative media appearances have helped him to raise millions from out-of-state donors

Excerpts from this story referencing "Michael J. Flaherty":

"… eir programs are heard by a relatively small slice of the population, said Michael J. Flaherty, who runs a Madison public relations firm and is a former Capitol reporter …"

Watchdog 5/10/12


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

"… t as a way to reduce the deficit, according to a new poll sponsored by the Center for Public Integrity, the Stimson Center and the Program for Public Consultation. The conclusio …"

ALEC exempted from lobbyist status in three separate states

By Paul Abowd

Group faces IRS scrutiny, but is already exempt from lobbyist status in South Carolina, Indiana and Colorado.

Excerpts from this story referencing "General Assembly":

"… “shall reflect equally the percentage of members from each party of the General Assembly.” All 18 of the state’s members, however, are Republican. Only a tiny …"

ALEC scraps task force behind support for voter ID, 'Stand Your Ground' laws nationwide

By Gordon Witkin

Move follows pressure from liberal groups.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… r Ground’ laws that have been in the news since the February shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin and for its backing of voter ID laws requiring voters …"

Beer and wine wholesalers behind legislators pushing controversial voter ID laws

By Paul Abowd

Wholesalers among those behind legislators pushing controversial new election rules.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tennessee":

"… ID measures. Since 2011, five ALEC-member legislators in Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, Kansas and South Carolina were primary sponsors of voter ID bills and rel …"

"… he said. “There is no connection.” Rep. Taylor did not return calls.In Tennessee, longtime Sen. Bill Ketron sponsored a successful voter ID bill in 2011. S …"

NRA pushed 'stand your ground' laws across the nation

By Susan Ferriss

Gun-rights group used endorsements, campaign cash and political pressure to spread laws nationwide.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia":

"… ebsite, noting that legislators in eight more states — Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and South Dakota — had already fo …"

"… k office in 2005, received $12,400 in NRA donations between 2004 and 2008. Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue got $7,500 from the group between 2004 and 2006. Mark Sh …"

State Integrity Investigation highlighted ethics problems plaguing Virginia and its governor

By Laura LaFay

WaPo cites Center investigation in editorial on commonwealth's "swiss cheese" ethics laws.

Excerpts from this story referencing "director":

"… center at Old Dominion University in exchange for a job as the center’s director. “Neither ethical lapses nor public corruption are commonplace, let alo …"

Drug lobby gave $9.4 million to nonprofits that spent big on 2010 election

By Michael Beckel

Pharmaceutical lobby gave $9.4 million to five different politically active nonprofits in 2010

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… ealth care reform bill championed by congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama.PhRMA’s PAC donated $195,300 directly to federal candidates and politica …"

Michigan's budget crisis puts democracy on the chopping block

By Paul Abowd

Michigan's emergency manager law grants sweeping powers to unelected officials

Excerpts from this story referencing "John Conyers":

"… tive agreement on concessions with public employees.Meanwhile, Congressman John Conyers has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to review the federal constitutio …"

Anatomy of an attack ad

By Ben Protess and Lagan Sebert

How Dick Morris Is making seniors feverish about health care reform

Excerpts from this story referencing "Osama bin Laden":

"… sp;controversial projects was the 2002 spot that flashed a picture of Osama bin Laden and questioned the patriotism of Georgia Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, a de …"

Surrogates for their agenda

By Alexander Cohen

How the drug industry uses non-profits to push its interests

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mac Haddow":

"… iation Chairman Charles Jarvis, a large chunk of $12 million spent in 2002.Mac Haddow, chairman of the policy advisory council for the Seniors Coalition, acknow …"

A most favored corporation: Enron prevailed in federal, state lobbying efforts 49 times

By M. Asif Ismail

WASHINGTON, January 6, 2003 — Enron Corp., which ran a formidable lobbying machine in Washington and state capitals, gained favorable treatm

Excerpts from this story referencing "commissioner":

"… given more authority.The company was instrumental in the nomination of two commissioners in the early days of the Bush administration. It pushed the candidacies o …"

"… ion. Hébert told the paper in May 2001 that the Enron chief had asked the commissioner to change his views on deregulation if the chairman wanted the company’s …"