Who needs lobbyists? See what big business spends to win American minds

By Erin Quinn and Chris Young

Trade groups pay top PR, advertising firms $1.2 billion over five years to influence public.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Business":

"… embers take recycled cooking oil and animal fats and turn them into fuel. Business associations — led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — represented the s …"

"… dustry trade group wasn’t the firm’s only client. Others included the Business Roundtable ($9.9 million), a group of CEOs who advocate for Business-frien …"

Corporations, advocacy groups spend big on ballot measures

By Liz Essley Whyte

Corporations and national advocacy groups are throwing big dollars behind TV ads before voters decide 158 state ballot measures.

Excerpts from this story referencing "America":

"… rons behind the millions of dollars in ads, but a who’s who of corporate America — soda king Coca-Cola, agriculture magnate Monsanto and malpractice insu …"

"… stry food fight Even soda is getting in on the political ad contests. The American Beverage Association, whose members include Coca-Cola and Pepsi, has pump …"

"… the communications director at the Howard Dean-founded Democracy for America. “I wouldn't count the lack of spending on ads to be indicative that the …"

Critic of artificial sweeteners pilloried by industry-backed scientists

By Chris Young

Any criticism of the artificial sweetener industry is met with a barrage of criticism, often from questionable sources.

Excerpts from this story referencing "University of California":

"… ical action,” Carolyn de la Pena, a professor of American studies at the University of California at Davis, wrote in her 2010 book “Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artifici …"

How lobbyists helped build John Cornyn’s election war chest

By Michael Beckel

Lobbyists’ role in Senate GOP whip's campaign helped him avoid, in his own words, a “fair fight.”

Excerpts from this story referencing "Club for Growth":

"… a reputation for pro-business and pro-energy politicking. The conservative Club for Growth, for example, gave him a 93 percent rating on “pro-growth” policies du …"

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 "Walmart":

"… ocracy reported, the corporate co-chair of that task force at the time was Walmart, the country’s largest seller of rifles. Since then, more than two dozen …"

"… gal son” ALEC hopes to welcome back: that big retailer and rifle seller, Walmart. The loss of Walmart alone undoubtedly was a major contributor to the budg …"

"… to welcome back: that big retailer and rifle seller, Walmart. The loss of Walmart alone undoubtedly was a major contributor to the budget shortfall, conside …"

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 "nuclear energy":

"… ebsite. Another is “to achieve durable, bipartisan political support for nuclear energy.” ALEC, which is composed mainly of business interests and state-level …"

Coal industry's go-to law firm withheld evidence of black lung, at expense of sick miners

By Chris Hamby

In part 1 of a series, the Center details how a major law firm withheld evidence of black lung, helping defeat miners' claims for benefits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Jackson Kelly PLLC":

"… his world are the attorneys in the federal black lung unit of the law firm Jackson Kelly PLLC. For almost two centuries, the firm has served the coal industry. It is th …"

"… ced growing concern: “I assume, then, I can expect more of the same from Jackson Kelly PLLC. … I find [the firm’s] defense of this practice … to be ludicrous. …"

Pro-gun group dramatically ups influence spending

By Dave Levinthal

The nonprofit National Association for Gun Rights spent $3 million lobbying last quarter, far more than the better-known NRA.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Michael Bloomberg":

"… is the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund, led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Tom Menino. The group spent $580,000 on lobbying last qua …"

Charitable 'matches' used to entice PAC giving

By Michael Beckel

Charitable 'matches' one way Coca-Cola, other companies incentivize employee PAC contributions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "PepsiCo":

"… space giant Boeing and American Express are among them — Coca-Cola rival PepsiCo. Inc. does not, said Phil Swink, senior vice president of government affai …"

Corporations, pro-business nonprofits foot bill for judicial seminars

By Chris Young, Reity O'Brien and Andrea Fuller

Corporations and conservative foundations are top sponsors of judicial junkets.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

"… Limits of Criminal Law,” both funded by AT&T, BB&T, BP America, Cigna, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, FedEx Corp. and others. “The Moral Foundation …"

Rockstar Energy Drink targets beverage laws

By Dave Levinthal

Energy drink maker hires sizable government affairs team to influence beverage laws.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Rockstar":

"… iatives.     …"

"… ers a caffeine- and additive-filled product line with brands such as "Rockstar Juiced" and "Rockstar Punched." And it comes as the Food and Drug Adminis …"

"… ditive-filled product line with brands such as "Rockstar Juiced" and "Rockstar Punched." And it comes as the Food and Drug Administration is investigati …"

"… escents from the dangers of highly caffeinated energy drinks."  Rockstar, Inc., joins fellow energy drink maker Monster Energy Co., which late last …"

Fiscal cliff, elections boost spending on lobbying

By Dave Levinthal

Year-end reports show outlays on influence by most active groups went up.

Excerpts from this story referencing "energy":

"… what could be ever-more-aggressive lobbying on federal finances, taxation, energy and social issues like immigration and gun ownership as President Barack O …"

"… $1.8 million during the 4th quarter from $640,000 during the 3rd quarter), energy giant Southern Co. ($5.1 million from $2.5 million), Duke energy ($2.3 mil …"

"… ns on issues critical to free enterprise, such as health care, regulation, energy production and taxes,” Chamber spokeswoman Blair Latoff Holmes said. Th …"

Bank of America, unions among newly named inauguration sponsors

By Dave Levinthal

Sponsors of Obama's second inaugural have spent nearly $283 million on lobbying since 2009.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Lobbying":

"… ffice, a Center for Public Integrity review of federal disclosures shows. Lobbying forces donating to Obama’s inaugural have spent nearly $283 million …"

"… l donor, financial investment firm Ariel Investments, has spent $200,000. Lobbying expenditures by newly disclosed union entities donating to the inaugural c …"

Corporate cash helps fuel Democratic convention despite pledges

By Michael Beckel

Democrats kick off their convention in Charlotte Tuesday with plenty of corporate support despite grass roots pledge.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wells Fargo":

"… AT&T Inc., Bank of America, Duke Energy, Time Warner Cable, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, UnitedHealth Group, Piedmont Natural Gas, US Airways and law and lobbying …"

Bailed-out banks, Freddie Mac, AIG gave $6 million to 2008 conventions

By John Dunbar and Michael Beckel

Corporate donors to 2008 party conventions included financial institutions bailed out by government.

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

"… n theory, anyway. For 2012, each party has received $18.2 million from the U.S. Treasury to help defray costs.But both parties are permitted to operate nonprofit c …"

"… ed $3.4 million in donations from banks that received investments from the U.S. Treasury. Donations came from U.S. Bancorp ($1 million), Goldman Sachs & Co. ($ …"

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 "National Conference of State Legislatures":

"… erence of Insurance Legislators, the Council of State Governments, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as ALEC.ALEC member and Republican Speaker of the House Mike Murp …"

"… te officials — and is no different from another exempt organization, the National Conference of State Legislatures. As corporations continue to drop their membership, ALEC’s press represe …"

"… singled out by a left-wing “intimidation” campaign.”The Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures is a research and advocacy group that pools the resources of state legisla …"

Donor profile: Jerry Perenchio

By Rachael Marcus

Quick stats on the biggest financial backers of Election 2012.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… Center for Responsive Politics and Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records. Totals include contributions from individuals, family members and …"

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 "Walmart":

"… of corporate members, including Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, AT&T and Walmart. In addition, two thousand legislators pay $50 a year to be members.ALEC …"

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 "Walmart":

"… members including Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Pfizer, UPS, AT&T, and Walmart. Corporate membership costs between $7,000 and $25,000, according to the A …"

Brominated battle: Soda chemical has cloudy health history

By Brett Israel

Experts now urge a closer look at a chemical, banned in other countries, now popping up in U.S. sodas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Brominated flame retardant":

"… case of flame retardants, slows down chemical reactions that cause a fire.Brominated flame retardants lately are under intense scrutiny because research has shown that they ar …"

Wealthy corporations with a trillion dollars stashed offshore lobby for a 'holiday' from U.S. taxes

By John Aloysius Farrell and Aaron Mehta

Wealthy corporations are lobbying for a tax holiday for a trillion dollars stashed offshore

Excerpts from this story referencing "Luxembourg":

"… nder the 2004 law included the Netherlands, Switzerland, Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands. In many cases, the money was moved through shell c …"

Commentary: Supreme Court ruling may help spur the buying of American politicians

By Bill Buzenberg and Josh Israel

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today opens a floodgate — making the buying of elections even easier. In the Citizens United v. Federal Elec

Excerpts from this story referencing "Citizens United":

"… y opens a floodgate — making the buying of elections even easier. In the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, a Court majority granted corporat …"

"… n our research for The Buying of the President 2008 project, we spoke with Citizens United’s president, David Bossie. Bossie, a conservative activist best known fo …"

"… Moneyed interests may rejoice; but citizens are not likely to benefit from Citizens United. …"

How nonprofits won special treatment in student lending bill

By Sasha Chavkin, Ryan Tracy and Mar Cabra

Some nonprofits on the verge of getting government protection, even after acts of misconduct

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington":

"… ents default. Essentially, lenders act as a middleman between students and Washington. Obama administration officials argue that eliminating the middleman woul …"

"… the bill, he thought it best not to make an issue of it at that time.” Washington Ties The nonprofits' clout stems in part from the EFC’s connections in …"

"… Ties The nonprofits' clout stems in part from the EFC’s connections in Washington. Peter Warren, the council’s president, previously spent three years as …"

Governor v. lt. governor: The ethics match-up

By Sarah Laskow

From the highest echelons of public office in Maryland and Virginia to offices less than two blocks apart, the Democratic and Republican Nat

Excerpts from this story referencing "Coca-Cola":

"… Myers, as well as more than $50,000 in stock in Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Coca-Cola. Perhaps the pharmaceutical and oil industries will get a more welcome rec …"

A gateway to Brazil

By Kevin Bogardus

Telecom firm linked to Jefferson bribe probe helped pay for his, others' travel

Excerpts from this story referencing "Ghana":

"… d to three trips to Africa, including visits to Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana, during which Jefferson — and sometimes Jackson — would promote the te …"

China steps up its lobbying game

By Marina Walker Guevara

The Chinese government is hiring the best of the best to advance its agenda

Excerpts from this story referencing "adviser":

"… ton, the team included Bill Paxon, a former Republican congressman and key adviser to George W. Bush's 2004 presidential campaign; Victor Fazio, a former Dem …"

"… of companies with business before the Defense Department. Perle was a paid adviser to a bankrupt telecommunications company, Global Crossing, and his job was …"

Grand Old Parties: Special interests shower Republicans with perks and parties in the Big Apple

By Meredith O'Brien

Cowboy boots and rock stars. Tuxedos and champagne. Batting practice in a Major League Baseball stadium and coveted tickets to the U.S. Open

Excerpts from this story referencing "PepsiCo":

"… A tribute to Republican leaders”Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.)PepsiCoMetropolitan Museum of ArtReceptionWorld of Hope, AIDS/humanitarian foundat …"

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 "General Electric":

"… nternational policy process on climate change. Its members include Boeing, General Electric, AT&T, Halliburton, Allied Signal, Dow Chemical, 3M, Dupont and Electr …"