'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 "chief of staff":

"… mal rights movement” and led by a former Missouri Republican senator’s chief of staff has launched a new super PAC, according to paperwork filed with the Federa …"

"… ncluding Sens. Roy Blunt and Kit Bond — the latter for whom he served as chief of staff for five years, according to Klippenstein’s online biography. For his p …"

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 "Google Inc.":

"… re, 12 companies — including Best Buy Co. Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and Google Inc. — did not even disclose a range, just that they’re affiliated with the …"

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 "Exelon Corp.":

"… 14, 5:15 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect new data provided by Exelon Corp. Company officials now say the discloses originally reviewed by the Center …"

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 "ExxonMobil":

"… lthcare, ALEC’s corporate membership has included big names ranging from ExxonMobil and Wells Fargo to Johnson & Johnson and Kraft. And it has worked clos …"

'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 "ExxonMobil":

"… gas industry, has more than 500 members including BP America, Chevron and ExxonMobil. Americans for Prosperity, backed by oil moguls David and Charles Koch, p …"

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 "Tom Daschle":

"… Center, a charity whose founders include Republican Bob Dole and Democrat Tom Daschle, which got $120,000.     …"

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 "Lobbying":

"… es facing such resolutions to do. In its 2012 Political Contributions and Lobbying Activity Report, Cigna stated that the total dues it paid to AHIP was $837 …"

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 "Mercatus Center":

"… ended up is a mystery, though some Donors Trust recipients, including the Mercatus Center and the Institute for Humane Studies based at George Mason University in V …"

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 "Koch":

"… Four foundations run by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch hold a combined $310 million in assets according to tax filings obtai …"

"… sp;revenue for 2011. The school is the largest recipient of Koch foundation money since 1985, and it houses several free-market and liberta …"

"… he Institute for Humane Studies, which received $3.7 million from the Koch foundations. The D.C.-based American Legislative Exchange Council&nb …"

"… porate representatives draft model legislation with state legislators. The Koch brothers have decades-long connections with ALEC, which gave the brothers …"

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 "current president":

"… e Schlinger, the former finance director of Iowa’s Republican Party. Its current president is veteran Republican state Sen. Sandra Greiner, who served for 14 years a …"

Arizona still waiting for Fiesta Bowl fixes

By Kathleen Ingley

Fiesta Bowl scandal has brought outrage, but no fixes

Excerpts from this story referencing "legislator":

"… ent in the Valley of the Sun, for bowl officials, civic boosters and state legislators, as well. And it isn’t over.The parade of bad news began in December 20 …"

"… ve committee revealed that the bowl had showered elected officials, mostly legislators, with lavish gifts.That May, the Fiesta Bowl was fined $1 million by the …"

"… sements. A lobbyist pleaded guilty to disclosure violations over a trip by legislators.Now, as the 2013 state legislative session approaches, many Arizonans bel …"

"… file football games and bowl-paid jaunts around the country that dozens of legislators took from at least 2003 to 2010, often with family members in tow. The se …"

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 "Bureau of Labor Statistics":

"… ership in the state has dropped significantly since 1989, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.A month later, the measure’s opponents mobilized. The Chamber of Commerc …"

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 "Club for Growth":

"… a similar fate. Bennett’s re-election was opposed by the anti-tax group Club for Growth as well as FreedomWorks, which is headed by former Republican House Majori …"

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 "Club for Growth":

"… concluded, Baldwin faced a slew of attack ads from conservative super PAC Club for Growth Action and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.American Future Fund’s “1979 …"

Nonprofit profile: American Commitment

By Rachael Marcus

Quick stats on the nonprofit group, supporting conservatives

Excerpts from this story referencing "Richard Carmona":

"… . Senate race on ads supporting Republican Jeff Flake or opposing Democrat Richard Carmona.Many of American Commitment’s ads have avoided federal disclosure b …"

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 "Texas":

"… ans in its pro-wind campaign: Reps. Bob Latta of Ohio, Blake Farenthold of Texas, Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania, Frank Guinta …"

"… ed ad that hits at “Illinois liberals” for their position on taxes.The Texas Conservatives Fund, a super PAC backing Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst …"

"… st, spent $325,000 on ads two days ahead of today’s GOP Senate runoff in Texas, with Dewhurst, the establishment favorite, facing off against former soli …"

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 "Clergy VOICE":

"… Internal Revenue Service’s nonprofit corporations division, on behalf of Clergy VOICE, a group of ministers from progressive churches in Ohio.ALEC has attracted …"

"… akers and that “an average of 20 percent become law.”In its complaint, Clergy VOICE says ALEC has “deliberately and repeatedly failed to comply with some of …"

"… interests of ALEC’s Private Sector members — the corporate funders.”Clergy VOICE consists of 18 religious leaders who have come together in the past to cha …"

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 "legislator":

"… n part because its membership includes major corporations as well as state legislators. Largely unnoticed has been the influence wielded by a third group of ALE …"

"… ew of the bills within 30 days. ALEC will then likely encourage its member legislators to introduce the model bills back in their home states. Since its foundin …"

"… sfully pushed hundreds of state-based laws. According to the ALEC website, legislators introduce nearly 1,000 bills each year that are based on ALEC model legis …"

"… r there.The Arizona legislature has one of the largest contingents of ALEC legislators in the country. The last eight Arizona Senate presidents have carried 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 "Scott Walker":

"… Coming Sunday, May 20: Who got access to Walker? …"

"… strategy — a constant public-relations focus in a 24-hour news world.“Scott Walker is a modern politician,”  said Geoffrey Skelley, political analyst …"

Watchdog 5/10/12


Excerpts from this story referencing "Terry Branstad":

"… lobbyist status.Governor cites Center integrity investigationIowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill last week creating the Iowa Public Information Board, a nine …"

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 "legislator":

"… y for the American Legislative Exchange Council, the conservative group of legislators and corporations that pushes free-market model legislation in the states …"

"… alds and Procter & Gamble,  to drop out of the group. Thirty-four legislators have also quit.Then ALEC announced in April it would shelve the task forc …"

"… ates allow ALEC to spend millions annually hosting corporate lobbyists and legislators at three yearly conferences, send “issue alerts” to legislators recom …"

"… ts and legislators at three yearly conferences, send “issue alerts” to legislators recommending votes on pending legislation, and draft press releases for l …"

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 "Coca-Cola":

"… aving an effect, as brand-name firms began dropping their ALEC membership. Coca-Cola quit on April 4 and Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Intuit and McDonalds soon followed …"

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 "ExxonMobil":

"… raws funding from hundreds of corporate members including Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Pfizer, UPS, AT&T, and Walmart. Corporate membership costs between $7 …"

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 "Florida Republican Party Committee":

"… invested and involved in congressional races.The organization showered the Florida Republican Party Committee with a total of $125,000 in donations between 2004 and 2010. That sum tops …"

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 "legislator":

"… alty. But when it comes to making and enforcing rules for themselves, the legislators are shrinking violets. The Old Dominion is one of nine states with no st …"

"… d one of only two states (South Carolina is the other) where the part-time legislators handpick the judges before whom many of them practice law. With 8.1 mill …"

"… a also has a General Assembly Conflict of Interests Act, but only one legislator has ever been prosecuted for violating it — in 1986. A positive self-im …"

"… of Legislative Services lawyer Mary Spain, Hamilton was the only Virginia legislator in modern history to be charged with a federal crime in connection with hi …"

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 "Iowa":

"… n ads during the 2010 election, including one against Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) that linked him with the proposed mosque in New York City near Ground Zer …"

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 "City Council":

"… previous emergency manager) as a consultant at half his former salary. The City Council was not so lucky.Neither were the police and fire departments. Pontiac is …"

"… doesn’t answer to anyone but the governor, at whose pleasure he serves. City Council can no longer make decisions but still calls meetings, which Williams says …"

"… reasurer’s financial review of city finances in December. Members of the City Council responded by demanding that the state repay $220 million owed to the city …"

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 "physician":

"… lients with the confidentiality that they expect from me,” he said. The physician who stars in the League’s ad, Mark J. Cuffe, also works in Tallahassee. …"

Surrogates for their agenda

By Alexander Cohen

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "physician":

"… ke this one will help more people seek treatment from a urologist or other physician."Bruckman's praise—cheerfully quoted by Alza in a 1999 press release tou …"

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 "natural gas":

"… ry, the Center found. Its successful efforts to deregulate electricity and natural gas markets paved the way to its rise, and the exemptions it won from regulato …"

"… y, which struggled with a huge debt load in the tightly regulated world of natural gas markets. Under Lay’s direction, the company rose to transport as much as …"

"… ion, the company rose to transport as much as 20 percent of the nation’s natural gas, to become the largest wholesaler of electrical power, the seventh largest …"

"… . As president of Florida Gas Transmission in the mid-1970s, he pushed for natural gas deregulation. I went around the state and tried to educate all of the [Flo …"