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 "San Francisco":

"… nte, California — campaigns that preceded its 2014 ballot-box battles in San Francisco, where voters rejected a soda-tax measure, and Berkeley, where a sugary-dr …"

Broadband findings you may have missed

By The Center for Public Integrity

The Center's best stories about the telecommunications industry from 2014.

Excerpts from this story referencing "information technology":

"… blic Integrity began investigating the political power of companies in the information technology industry in late 2013. Here are some of the most interesting findings tha …"

Poorly rated nursing homes got HUD-guaranteed mortgages anyway

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Hundreds of poorly rated facilities received mortgage guarantees.

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

"… w-cost, HUD-backed mortgages worth close to $2.5 billion, according to the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis of loan and ratings data.  Even though HUD restructured …"

'Banking Caucus' member aims for Senate

By Alison Fitzgerald

Republican candidate for Senate U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito defends little banks but big banks benefit too.

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

"… top 20 donors to Capito’s Senate run, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. She also has the support of many energy companies. Capito is not among th …"

Senator questions Bank of America’s no-bid prison deal

By Daniel Wagner

After a Center report, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, says Bank of America's no-bid prison banking deal "raises significant questions"

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank of America Corp.":

"… U.S. Senator is questioning the Treasury Department’s decision to award Bank of America Corp. an exclusive contract to provide technology and financial services in all …"

Health insurers turning into who knows what?

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health insurers are transforming themselves — but into what?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Boeing":

"… are Act. …"

"… s to its employees that eliminates insurance companies as middlemen. What Boeing is doing represents a seismic shift in health care financing and delivery …"

Treasury extends controversial bank-card deal with Comerica

By Daniel Wagner

Treasury extends Comerica program that exposed the elderly and poor to fraud.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Comerica":

"… om a Treasury spokesman. The Treasury Department has extended a deal with Comerica Bank to distribute benefits to the elderly and disabled on payment cards d …"

"… al plans to review the selection process that led to another contract with Comerica, his counsel said in an email Monday. Treasury’s announcement that it h …"

"… s announcement that it had signed a new, five-year deal with Dallas-based Comerica to distribute Social Security and disability on bank-issued, taxpayer subs …"

"… as “Direct Express.” Under the previous contract, Treasury also paid Comerica an extra $32.5 million for work the bank had promised to do for free. The …"

Medicare Advantage patients find themselves in regulatory limbo

By Fred Schulte

States lack oversight but feds are struggling to keep with fast-growing health plans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "spokesman":

"… al enforcement action taken,” said Minnesota attorney general’s office spokesman Benjamin Wogsland. “We have very serious concerns that continue,” he s …"

"… ns that continue,” he said. Citing patient confidentiality laws, Humana spokesman Tom Noland declined to comment on specific cases. But he said that Humana …"

"… enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan is a top priority for CMS, an agency spokesman wrote in an email.  He said the agency “may finalize this proposal …"

Chattanooga wants feds to pre-empt broadband ban

By Allan Holmes

Tennessee city seeks to expand municipal broadband service, pre-empting industry-backed state ban.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tennessee":

"… ral Communications Commission in the next couple of months to pre-empt the Tennessee law that prohibits the city from expanding the network, Danna Bailey, vice …"

"… llars more on lobbying state houses. AT&T has given nearly $140,000 to Tennessee lawmakers’ campaigns in the 2014 election cycle, the most for any state, …"

"… led by House Energy and Commerce Vice Chairwoman Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee and Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio followed up with their own letter  …"

Potential Sprint, T-Mobile marriage threatens consumer gains

By Allan Holmes

Sprint, T-Mobile fought to maintain competition, merger talks show they're giving in.

Court reopens third case after Center uncovered judicial conflicts of interest

By Chris Young

Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reopens 2007 case after Center alerts judge that his wife owned ExxonMobil stock when he ruled on case.

Tobacco money fuels gay Republicans, business organizations

By Michael Beckel

Reynolds American gave thousands of dollars to politically active nonprofits such as the Log Cabin Republicans, Americans for Prosperity.

Excerpts from this story referencing "spokeswoman":

"… ions are made in line with our business interests," said Reynolds American spokeswoman Jane Seccombe. On its website, Reynolds American states that it contribut …"

Center's report on troubled teens wins prestigious Tobenkin Award

'Throwaway Kids' honored with Columbia Journalism School award.

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

"… Mexico-City based Latin America correspondent for Cox Newspapers.  …"

Treasury to Comerica: Take our money, please!

By Daniel Wagner

Officials handed bank tens of millions, asked few question, in troubled card program.

Excerpts from this story referencing "bank":

"… t Friday by Treasury’s inspector general. Taxpayers ended up paying the bank $32.5 million through March 2013 under an amended deal that officials offe …"

"… ervices. Treasury did not even realize Comerica had fallen short until the bank told them. Yet they readily agreed to pay Comerica retroactively for card …"

"… adline to stop using paper checks neared. Earlier, when it was selecting a bank to issue the cards, Comerica had claimed that it could handle up to 20 mil …"

"… d users without charging the government a penny. Treasury awards deals to banks without competitive bids under an obscure authority found in a Civil War- …"

Name calling won't silence investigative reporting

By Bill Buzenberg

How a Verizon flack's tweet clinched more readers for our wireless investigation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Allan Holmes":

"… he simply drove more Web traffic our way. It began when Senior Reporter Allan Holmes, who covers broadband and Internet governance, was working on an investiga …"

"… out what he had written. By mid-afternoon, he tweeted: “I apologize to [Allan Holmes] for referring to him as ‘lazy and unethical,’ a rude comment that was …"

"… ling didn’t work. The facts are the facts as we reported them. Thank you Allan Holmes and John Dunbar. We are planning further reports on the costly and increa …"

Corporate subsidy deals don’t always deliver

By Julie Patel

Popular business incentive programs can help politicians win favor with voters and companies.

Delay of long-awaited refinery accident report signals divisions at Chemical Safety Board

By Chris Hamby

A last-minute change to a public meeting on a 2010 explosion at the Tesoro refinery in Washington State has board members "embarrassed."

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… antially since 2006, a Center for Public Integrity analysis found, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general said in a report last August that the CSB’s growin …"

T-Mobile’s lobbying spending may be paying off

By Allan Holmes

The No. 4 wireless carrier sees its lobbying investments paying off in D.C.

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 "Koch Industries":

"… conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch and led by former Koch Industries lobbyist Thomas Pyle. Ahead of the 2012 presidential election, the America …"

Dow Chemical backed anti-union nonprofit with $2 million donation

By Michael Beckel and Erin Quinn

Nonprofit opposed pro-union ballot measure in Michigan with help of $2 million from chemical giant.

AT&T buoyed in lobbying push against spectrum auction limits

By Allan Holmes

Expect telecom giant to fight FCC on spectrum auction limits following T-Mobile airwaves purchase.

New Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen in her own words

By Alison Fitzgerald

Janet Yellen comments on the role of the Fed, devastating unemployment and Congress in selected quotes from 2013.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… al with it that we were not able to do during the financial crisis.” On Congress, a balanced budget and fiscal policy: "I certainly recognize the importan …"

Fighting over Aetna's disclosure

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: good government group alleges insurer isn't coming clean on political spending.

CVS backs Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's NERD Fund

By Michael Beckel

Pharmacy chain's donation to Michigan governor's group offers a rare glimpse into the funding of politically active nonprofits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Michigan":

"… of health, labor and tax issues. Adam Wollner contributed to this report. …"

Ex-SEC chief now helps companies navigate post-meltdown reforms

By Lauren Kyger, Alison Fitzgerald and John Dunbar

Former regulators profit from their experience with jobs, book deals and speaking fees.

Excerpts from this story referencing "speaker":

"… e book. Geithner has also hit the speaking circuit, becoming an exclusive speaker for the Harry Walker Agency, which also represents former President Bill C …"

"… when he realized it. In his post-Fed years Greenspan has been busy on the speaker circuit, writing books and consulting. In 2007 he published his memoir, …"

"… by the Washington speakers Bureau, which specializes in booking high level speakers including Madeleine Albright, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and …"

Subprime lending execs back in business five years after crash

By Daniel Wagner

Executives from all of the top 25 subprime lending firms are working in the mortgage business five years later.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Finance":

"… be, says Guy Cecala, publisher of the trade magazine Inside Mortgage Finance. "You're going to see a little more risk coming into the system" Cecala sa …"

"… n 2000. His boss at New Penn is CEO Jerry Schiano, who founded Wilmington Finance before the crisis. Schiano ran Wilmington until 2007, despite selling it t …"

"… lmington until 2007, despite selling it to AIG subsidiary American General Finance for $121 million in 2003. In 2010, Wilmington and another of AIG’s compa …"

Ex-Wall Street chieftains living large in post-meltdown world

By Alison Fitzgerald

CEOs of banks that fueled the subprime crisis that led to the economic meltdown largely avoid consequences.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance giant":

"… f Lehman early Monday, Sept. 15, and ended with the $80 billion bailout of insurance giant American International Group and the sales of Merrill Lynch to Bank of Ame …"

Big Labor: still a political force

By Michael Beckel

Despite falling union membership, labor groups are major players in the super PAC arena.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Sheldon Adelson":

"… ely gave super PACs about half as much money as billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam Adelson, who ranked as the top super PAC donors.   …"

How the defense industry dodges budget cuts

By Bill Buzenberg

Center's 'Gift Economy' project shows how money from defense contractors to key lawmakers affects key national security issues.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… ey national security and defense budgeting issues. We’ve been examining Federal Election Commission campaign finance data and congressional lobbying data from the Senate Offi …"

Bear Stearns mortgage executives have plum jobs on Wall Street

By Lauren Kyger and Alison Fitzgerald

Executives from the mortgage finance division that helped sink Bear Stearns have similar jobs at major Wall Street banks.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Securities and Exchange Commission":

"… ies for the future?” asked Jordan Thomas, a former attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission who now runs the whistleblower practice at Labaton Sucharow in New York. …"