Koch-linked organization uses ‘dark money’ to fight political disclosure

By Michael Beckel

Most of the $13 million raised by American Commitment has come three Koch-backed groups.

Excerpts from this story referencing "candidate":

"… to publicly disclose its donors, even though it overtly supports political candidates. But separate IRS filings show the bulk of American Commitment’s money …"

"… — cash from publicly undisclosed donors used to boost or bash political candidates. Ahead of the 2014 midterms, American Commitment promoted Republican U.S …"

"… of the 2014 midterms, American Commitment promoted Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis of North Carolina in radio ads. In 2013, it backed Republican …"

"… of North Carolina in radio ads. In 2013, it backed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan in his race against Democrat Cory Booker. And Sen. Jeff Flak …"

Grover Norquist nonprofit funded pro-Republican women’s group

By Michael Beckel

Conservative-leaning Independent Women's Voice got 13 percent of its revenue last year from Americans for Tax Reform, new documents show.

Excerpts from this story referencing "candidate":

"… nservative-leaning nonprofit that has pushed to elect Republican political candidates, according to new tax documents reviewed by the Center for Public Integri …"

"… Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst of Iowa, according to FEC filings. Neither officials with Amer …"

Koch-backed nonprofit raised $44 million in 2013

By Michael Beckel

ObamaCare-bashing Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, raised $44 million in 2013.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate":

"… for Prosperity ultimately aired more than 28,000 TV ads in contested U.S. Senate races, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of data provided …"

"… political advertising. Just two other non-party groups aired more ads in Senate races — Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC operated by allies of Senate Ma …"

"… ising. Just two other non-party groups aired more ads in Senate races — Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC operated by allies of Senate Majority Leader Har …"

"… in Senate races — Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC operated by allies of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Crossroads GPS, a social welfare n …"

GOP rides cavalry to U.S. Senate majority

By Michael Beckel, Dave Levinthal and Carrie Levine

Super PACs, 'dark money' nonprofits help make Election Day difference as Republicans seize a U.S. Senate majority

Excerpts from this story referencing "Indiana":

"… more on elections than the candidates themselves in 2012 — Virginia and Indiana — and there were no such races in 2010. This year, however, there could …"

"… outsiders has grown — dramatically. In 2012, candidates in Virginia and Indiana nearly matched dollar for dollar what outside groups spent in those contes …"

Surprise! No. 1 super PAC backs Democrats

By Carrie Levine and Dave Levinthal

To the surprise of many, the top-spending super PAC this election backs Democrats, not Republicans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New Hampshire":

"… ofits, Senate Majority PAC ranks first in Michigan and second in Colorado, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas and West Virginia. It’s third in Iowa. P …"

"… t Senate Majority PAC to continue its ad barrage through Election Day. In New Hampshire, for example, the super PAC was already girding in July for close race bet …"

"… on filings. That includes an around-the-clock presence on WMUR-TV 9, New Hampshire’s only in-state, network-affiliated station, through today, the day befo …"

"… s targeting Republican U.S. Senate candidates Joni Ernst in Iowa, Brown in New Hampshire and McConnell in Kentucky. In some ways, it makes sense that Senate Major …"

Election 2014 by the numbers

By Michael Beckel

A new Center for Public Integrity money-in-politics index highlights key facts about the most expensive midterm in history.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate":

"… port. …"

"… October targeting U.S. Senate elections: 908,000 Number of states where a Senate-focused TV ad in late October appeared, on average, at least once every tw …"

"… ctober appeared, on average, at least once every two minutes: 8 Number of Senate-focused TV ads aired this cycle on KTUU-TV 2 in Anchorage, Alaska: 12,300 …"

"… orage, Alaska: 12,300 Stations that have aired more: 0 Percentage of all Senate-focused TV ads, on average, sponsored by outside spending groups: 38 Perc …"

Flush with mystery money, Kentucky nonprofit haunts Grimes’ Senate bid

By Michael Beckel

Formerly modest nonprofit becomes deep-pocketed, dark money benefactor of Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Excerpts from this story referencing "politician":

"… on of McConnell or defeat of Grimes. Issue ads that praise or criticize a politician but fall short of overtly urging people to vote for or against them do not …"

"… h previously could not call directly for the election or defeat of federal politicians. They may now also raise unlimited amounts of money to fund such overt po …"

"… whose political network has spent millions of dollars aiding GOP politicians across the country this year. In the home stretch of the campa …"

Power shifts to outsiders in U.S. Senate fight

By Michael Beckel

Battle for control determined in large part by big-spending super PACs and nonprofits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate races":

"… ting their own political campaigns are over. In the most competitive U.S. Senate races this year, big-money special interests that proliferated after the U.S. Su …"

"… s race metaphors are particularly apropos: In the 12 most-competitive U.S. Senate races, liberals and conservatives have nearly fought to a draw. Republicans and …"

"… pport from super PACs and nonprofits than Democrats did. In these 12 U.S. Senate races, about 52 percent of all Republican-aligned TV ads were sponsored by outsi …"

"… tive tally of precisely how much has been raised and spent in the key U.S. Senate races this election is difficult because not all groups report numbers the same …"

Obamacare helps millions, but falls short in many ways

By Wendell Potter

The Affordable Care Act has reduced the ranks of the uninsured, but cost of care must be addressed.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… have still been joining the ranks of the insured since then. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the number of newly insured Americans wi …"

"… ons and drug makers in ways the White House and members of both parties in Congress were not willing to do in 2009 because of the political clout they have in …"

Controversial Republican telemarketer forms super PAC

By Dave Levinthal

Gabriel S. Joseph III's past political efforts include an anti-Obama spam text message campaign that prompted legal complaints.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… ral election laws — and spamming legions of people with unsolicited anti-Barack Obama text messages — has created a new super PAC. Gabriel S. Joseph III regi …"

"… 10,000 worth of payments from the PAC to ccAdvertising to disseminate anti-Barack Obama "phone communication" messages, FEC records show. It also made a $27,500 …"

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 "president":

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

"… sident has been a hot topic in state-level elections this year.  The president or his signature health care law have been mentioned in more than 1 out of …"

"… re than one-third of political ads in U.S. Senate races have mentioned the president, according to the Center’s analysis. Combined, more than 300,000 ads ha …"

"… mentioning Obama or the health care law. While it’s not unusual for the president to be invoked in federal races, the focus on Obama at the state level is c …"

Eyeballs burn in North Carolina, Iowa ahead of U.S. Senate elections

By Michael Beckel

Last week, North Carolina, Iowa residents saw three political ads focused on contentious Senate elections every five minutes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… rolling scores of ads targeting down-ballot races that criticize President Barack Obama. In the Tar Heel State, embattled incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, i …"

In Kansas, Democratic donors invest in uncertainty

By Michael Beckel

Independent Senate candidate Greg Orman lures left-leaning donors despite uncertainty about whether he'll caucus with Democrats.

Excerpts from this story referencing "president":

"… nd $200,000 for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and was later tapped by the president to serve on the board of trustees for the John F. Kennedy Center for the P …"

The 47-year-old nuclear elephant in the room

By Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith

A growing number of U.S. experts say that feigning ignorance about Israel’s nuclear arsenal creates more trouble than it averts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federation of American Scientists":

"… s. Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said the clues lie in the Energy Department’s citation — in a do …"

In New Hampshire, quixotic super PAC shaking up Republican primary

By Dave Levinthal

Big-spending Mayday PAC giving Jim Rubens an unexpected boost — and Scott Brown a headache — ahead of GOP primary.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Massachusetts":

"… to a little-known challenger.  Scott Brown, the former senator from Massachusetts who lost his seat in 2012, is expected to win the New Hampshire's GOP prim …"

"… n wildly different. It’s massive departure from 2012 re-election bid in Massachusetts, as then, Brown cast himself as a novel kind of campaign finance reformer. …"

GOP’s Senate hopes energized by Koch network ad blitz

By Michael Beckel

How many TV ads have groups connected to the billionaire brothers aired in your state?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… reportedly intend to spend $290 million to help Republicans make gains in Congress this November. Thus far, Kantar Media/CMAG spending estimates indicate the …"

Why Republican control of Congress hinges on nine big-money Senate races

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Nine big-money Senate races will determine whether Republicans control both chambers of Congress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Jack Kingston":

"… cans, meanwhile, nominated self-funding businessman David Perdue over Rep. Jack Kingston in a July runoff vote. The primary is a major reason why more than 36,100 …"

Defeat of California initiative would protect insurers' profits

By Wendell Potter

Proposition 45 would allow California's insurance chief to block insurance rate hikes; insurers are spending millions to kill it.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… ent last week on an ad in Salon.com featuring a large picture of President Barack Obama and this message: “Protect Obamacare from Legal Attacks. Prop 45’s Dir …"

Lobbying disclosures leave public in the dark

By Marcelo Rochabrun and Dave Levinthal

Despite efforts to beef up laws regulating lobbyists, public is in the dark when it comes to what firms are up to in Washington.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Patton Boggs":

"… lobbying help to secure federal funding. The school hired lobbying giant Patton Boggs LLP (now Squire Patton Boggs) in 2007, with the firm disclosing in a …"

"… ral funding. The school hired lobbying giant Patton Boggs LLP (now Squire Patton Boggs) in 2007, with the firm disclosing in a federal filing that it w …"

"… bills. But in its 2007 contract with Missouri State University, Patton Boggs provided a five-page game plan for influencing lawmakers and helping the s …"

"… nd now-Sen. Roy Blunt, each of Missouri. In a separate 2012 contract, Patton Boggs added Rep. Billy Long to its friends list and mentioned how Rep. Kenny Hul …"

State lawmakers take aim at federal gun control

By Justine McDaniel, Robby Korth and Jessica Boehm

A growing collection of state legislatures seeks to disqualify federal gun control laws

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… n Newtown, Connecticut. All but three have been introduced since President Barack Obama took office. Underneath the policy jargon lies a culture of firearms wove …"

U.S. now faces threat of U.S.-made weapons in Iraq

By Douglas Birch

Islamic State fighters seize U.S. military equipment in Iraq, become targets for U.S. warplanes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Iraq":

"… top speed of just 60 mph. To some of the fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. M1117, aka the Guardian Armored Security Vehicle, has …"

"… n-built military equipment that ISIS captured after it swept into northern Iraq in early June. A promotional video by the manufacturer, Textron Marine an …"

"… ” By authorizing the first of dozens of airstrikes against militants in Iraq on Aug. 8 and dispatching more than 1,000 troops there as military adviser …"

"… lict that many Americans wanted to forget. In battles from Afghanistan to Iraq, the United States defeated conventional forces equipped mainly with Sovie …"

Political nonprofits bungle IRS filings

By Michael Beckel

High-profile groups such as Crossroads GPS and Patriot Majority USA acknowledged mistakes after Center for Public Integrity inquiry.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Plus Association":

"… four others — Americans for Tax Reform, the American Future Fund, the 60 Plus Association and the Revere America Association — also appear to have made reporting …"

"… ng its tax-exempt status. Likewise, CREW officials have criticized the 60 Plus Association for characterizing the bulk of its FEC-reported political spending as “e …"

Flurry of new legislation targets sexual assault on campus

By Kristen Lombardi

New legislation follows landmark Center series

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… latest action on a variety of fronts to curb what everyone from President Barack Obama to Vice President Joe Biden to Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called …"

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 …"

Tea party scandal brews FOIA backlog at FEC

By Dave Levinthal

Media and public wait for information from election agency as Congress seeks IRS-related information.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Public Integrity":

"… sman wrote today in response to questions about the status of a Center for Public Integrity FOIA request filed on May 1 that seeks various agency emails. The FEC on …"

"… mails. The FEC on May 19 promised in writing to respond to the Center for Public Integrity's request by June 13 — saying it needed time to "appropriately examine a …"

How to fix the IRS nonprofit division

By Julie Patel

Employees, reformers offer three recommendations for improving the agency's flagging nonprofit division.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Responsive Politics":

"… 2 election cycle, a presidential election year, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Create a regulatory agency for nonprofits — one separate from the IRS. …"

Hobbled IRS can't stem 'dark money' flow

By Julie Patel

Budget and staffing cuts, endless congressional investigations keep IRS from investigating activities of political nonprofits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Ed Gillespie":

"… bsp;that Crossroads GPS, co-founded by Republican operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, spent more on politics than anything else leading up to the 2010 election …"

Praise for UK-style health system vindicates spurned nominee

By Wendell Potter

Former Medicare chief's support for UK's health care system may win votes in race for governor of Massachusetts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "primary":

"… he became one of three candidates to qualify for the Sept. 9 Massachusetts primary. State Treasurer Steven Grossman and Attorney General Martha Coakley were …"

Credit rating industry dodges reforms, despite role in financial meltdown

By Alison Fitzgerald

Despite playing a central role in the economic collapse, firms that gave inflated ratings to toxic bonds remain untouched by reforms.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. government":

"… or German bonds. In the summer of 2011, S&P downgraded the debt of the U.S. government for the first time in history from AAA to AA+ when lawmakers threatened no …"

Lobbyists boost Senate Democrats

By Michael Beckel

Democrats have outraised their GOP counterparts in terms of money coming from lobbyists doubling as fundraisers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee":

"… cal candidate or group received more money from lobbyist-bundlers than the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which raised nearly $2.6 million from them despite regularly criticizing …"

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