New FEC chief on 'dark money' mission

By Dave Levinthal

New Chairwoman Ann Ravel says she'll fight to out people behind secretive political cash, regardless of party.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… ioners continue to serve despite the ends of their terms because President Barack Obama has not nominated, and the U.S. Senate has not approved, people to replace …"

Mega-donors give big to state candidates

By Rachel Baye, Reity O'Brien and Ben Wieder

More than two dozen donors have given at least $1 million to state-level campaigns ahead of Nov. 4.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic Governors Association":

"… Quinn and his running mate to accept more than $3.6 million from the Democratic Governors Association, more than $755,000 from Chicago media mogul Fred Eychaner and millions fr …"

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 "Mitt Romney":

"… een honed working for the GOP presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. Jennings, a co-founder of the media relations firm RunSwitch PR, said he …"

Mitch McConnell revs ad machine

By Michael Beckel

Kentucky’s embattled senior senator has aired roughly one campaign ad every five minutes since Labor Day.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Arkansas":

"… gan and North Carolina, according to estimates from Kantar Media/CMAG. In Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa and Louisiana, Democrats and their allies also edged out t …"

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 "NextGen Climate Action Committee":

"… than $1 million attacking Brown: liberal super PAC Senate Majority PAC and NextGen Climate Action Committee, a super PAC run by billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer. The Lea …"

Is this super PAC subverting disclosure rules?

By Michael Beckel

Georgia's GOP Senate primary has attracted big money from a super PAC funded by two nonprofit groups tied to an Ohio lobbyist.

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

"… (Update, July 11, 2014, 8:48 p.m.: Joe Trotter, a spokesman for the Center for Competitive Politics, said because the nonprofit donors were named there was "no 'subversion' o …"

The 'McCutcheon' decision explained — more money to pour into political process

By Michael Beckel

The Supreme Court recently decided to eliminate 'aggregate limits' on contributions. We tell you what that means.

Excerpts from this story referencing "general election":

"… candidate is still $2,600 per election, or $5,200 counting the primary and general election. The maximum contribution to a national party committee is still $32,400, …"

Mudslinging at the FEC over disclosure

By Julie Patel

Controversy brews at elections agency over whether a conservative group should reveal its donors.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Chairman":

"… and Dave Levinthal contributed to this report. …"

More than a dozen states could throw out donation caps after McCutcheon ruling

By Michael Beckel

A Supreme Court ruling elminating aggregate limits on campaign contributions invalidates similar rules in states.

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

"… , who has been fighting campaign finance regulations for decades, told the Center for Public Integrity that states either need to repeal their existing aggregate limits on campa …"

"… nd Board of Elections’ candidacy and campaign finance division, told the Center for Public Integrity that the agency will be issuing new guidance “as soon as possible,” ad …"

Merriam-Webster makes 'super PAC' official

By Dave Levinthal

Merriam-Webster OKs shorthand term for the clunky 'independent expenditure-only committee.'

Excerpts from this story referencing "Fred Wertheimer":

"… The entry also includes quotations from campaign finance reform advocate Fred Wertheimer and New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore to illustrate the use of " …"

Billionaires use super PACs to advance pet causes

By Michael Beckel

Wealthy donors who bankrolled their own issue-focused super PACs dominated the 2013 fundraising game.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Massachusetts":

"… ng the Virginia gubernatorial race and the special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts. This stands in stark contrast to the 2012 election cycle when Steyer did …"

"… a super PAC that backed underdog GOP Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez in the Massachusetts special election last June. His super PAC has since disbanded. Ben Wiede …"

Cuomo calls for ethics reform in New York

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Governor uses budget address to call for more transparency.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New York":

"… of, with one exception. “The one omission,” he said, “is ethics.” …"

"… of this state is, ‘I get it. I get that that’s wrong,’” he said. New York officials — legislators in particular — have been the focus in a rash …"

"… ter for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International. New York received Fs in four of fourteen categories, including ethics enforcement a …"

"… , said Susan Lerner, executive director of the advocacy group Common Cause New York. “This is big news,” she said. Lerner had high praise for Cuomo’s c …"

How Washington starves its election watchdog

By Dave Levinthal

Agency hamstrung by political bickering, case backlogs, staff departures — even Chinese hackers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "John McCain":

"… 2008. Dodd’s campaign got its day before the FEC this year, on Feb. 7. John McCain’s 2008 presidential committee won dismissal of a case against it on May …"

"… Trevor Potter, who was FEC chairman in 1994 and now, after serving as Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign general counsel in 2008, leads the reformist Cam …"

Liberal heavyweight Patriot Majority USA fueled by secret, big-dollar donors

By Julie Patel

A dark money group expected to play defense for Democrats in the upcoming battle for the U.S. Senate should have plenty in its arsenal.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Department of Labor":

"… $2.3 million to Patriot Majority USA last year, based on calculations from Department of Labor filings. The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, a trade association, …"

Don’t support ‘campaign finance reform’? Try combating ‘corruption’

By Michael Beckel

Don’t support ‘campaign finance reform’? Try combating ‘corruption’ instead.

IRS sets its sights on political 'dark money'

By Michael Beckel

The Internal Revenue Service is proposing new rules that could curb the ability of social welfare nonprofits to influence elections.

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

"… l spending should be restricted to a certain percentage. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, social welfare nonprofits spent more than $240 million on advertising cal …"

League of Conservation Voters becoming 'dark money' heavyweight

By Michael Beckel

The liberal League of Conservation Voters is fast becoming one of the nation’s strongest 'dark money' forces.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Julie Patel":

"… groups significantly outspent the League of Conservation Voters in 2012. Julie Patel contributed to this report. …"

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.

Senate e-filing club grows by one

By Adam Wollner

But vast majority of senators still submit campaign finance disclosures on paper.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Secretary":

"… n online. Rather, they are allowed to submit their reports on paper to the Secretary of the Senate, meaning it can potentially take weeks or even months for th …"

GOP leadership PACs boost American Future Fund

By Michael Beckel

Republican senators steered donations to a nonprofit group touting their GOP colleague in May.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Kelly Ayotte":

"… ed that the government “shutter the IRS.”     …"

State campaign contribution limits on the rise

By Adam Wollner

Individual campaign contribution limits are on the rise as states hedge against super PACs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Vermont":

"… e’s House Democratic Caucus, in a press release following the vote. The Vermont legislature came close to reaching a deal that would have slightly increas …"

"… ials couldn’t agree on all the details before the session ended in May. Vermont Sen. Jeanette White, a Democrat who co-sponsored the legislation, said she …"

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 "Massachusetts":

"… states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington a …"

"… ependent political spending; A “stand by your ad” provision in a 2010 Massachusetts law requires that in corporate-funded ads, the CEO appear in the spot; Al …"

Super PACs invest in D.C. Council race

By Michael Beckel

Two groups boosted Republican Patrick Mara during unsuccessful D.C. Council bid.

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees":

"… ndidates. Bonds' candidacy was endorsed by the D.C. Democratic Party, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees labor union and several local political heavyweights, including Marion Bar …"

Obama nonprofit not disclosing all donor data

By Dave Levinthal

Obama's new nonprofit does not intend to disclose all information it collects from donors.

Excerpts from this story referencing "campaign manager":

"… izing for Action National Chairman Jim Messina, who served as Obama's 2012 campaign manager, this month declared in a opinion column that "every donor wh …"

Shaun McCutcheon hopes donation in S. Carolina election will be first of many nationwide

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Alabama man bent on campaign finance deregulation kicks off election cycle with South Carolina contribution.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Republican National Committee":

"… ly allowed to give up to $32,400 to a national party committee such as the Republican National Committee and $5,000 per year to individual PACs. Participation in the South Caroli …"

CPAC panel: Shrink the Federal Election Commission

By Michael Beckel

Lawyers propose shutting down campaign finance agency, or at least limiting its reach.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Benjamin Barr":

"… hemed event today at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Benjamin Barr, who specializes in First Amendment law, predicted that continued legal ch …"

Center report prompts request for FEC hearing on super PACs

By Dave Levinthal

Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig cites Center article in calling for FEC hearing.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Harvard University":

"… ugh an arrangement with Harvard University, facilitated by Lessig.   …"

"… e Center for Public Integrity receives funding through an arrangement with Harvard University, facilitated by Lessig.   …"

Opponents of coal influence elections anonymously

By Michael Beckel

Clean energy-focused nonprofit provided more than 99 percent of super PAC's money.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Internal Revenue Service":

"… aid that his organization, which reported about $550,000 in revenue to the Internal Revenue Service in 2011, relies on "grassroots giving" and that the average household dona …"

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 "American Future Fund.":

"… l left rose up against it. An innocuously named nonprofit, the Iowa-based American Future Fund. proved to be one of the biggest backers of the initiative, sinking more th …"

"… t voters ultimately rejected. As a “social welfare” organization, the American Future not required to publicly disclose its donors. But to maintain its tax-ex …"

"… e U.S. tax code, influencing elections cannot be its primary purpose. The American Future Fund.s investment in California was part of a nationwide, political advertisin …"

"… s controversial Citizens United decision in 2010, nonprofits such as the American Future Fund.have played a more prominent role in electoral contests — all while givin …"

Gridlocked election commission awaits action by Obama

By Michael Beckel

Despite a high court ruling leaving campaign finance rules up in the air, partisan FEC fails to act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Eric Schultz":

"… o nominate well-qualified candidates” to the FEC, according to spokesman Eric Schultz. But when pressed for specifics on timing, Schultz said he was “not goin …"