'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 "West Virginia":

"… ions into consideration.”    …"

"… are the biggest banks in the world. Capito, a Republican, is running for West Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat that’s being vacated by Jay Rockefeller after 30 ye …"

"… regulation. Capito has defended herself against criticism by her opponent, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, that she’s too cozy with the banking …"

"… ndustry is meant to help small, local banks. “I’m going to defend the West Virginia community banks and the West Virginia credit unions. We need to have a ful …"

Five-state study finds high levels of airborne chemicals near oil and gas sites

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

A study of air emissions near oil and gas wells found strikingly high levels of benzene and other dangerous chemicals in some locations.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chemical":

"… al Environmental Health — is “potentially dangerous compounds and chemical mixtures” that can make people feel ill and raise their risk of can …"

"… ti-well pad is developed. The agency is also conducting its own studies on chemical exposures that could be an issue for gas-extraction workers and people liv …"

"… nt years by pummeling rock with a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals. Industry groups have pointed to the boom as an economic godsend: jobs, …"

"… wn, Clark, where tests on the air samples showed high levels of benzene, a chemical that can be emitted by oil and gas production. The worst case was 110,000 …"

Bloomberg helps Democratic governors' group close gap on Republicans

By Ben Wieder

The Republican Governors Association is outpacing its Democratic counterpart but Democrats are catching up.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… rialist Koch, casino magnate Adelson and the private equity firm of 5-Hour Energy founder Manoj Bhargava each contributed $2.5 million through the end of Se …"

"… om the Shannons and $1.5 million from Griffin. Two Energy companies, Devon Energy, at $900,000, and Duke Energy, at $775,000, are among the Republican group …"

"… on from Griffin. Two Energy companies, Devon Energy, at $900,000, and Duke Energy, at $775,000, are among the Republican group’s top 10 donors overall. T …"

Ads in U.S. Senate contests turn nasty

By Dave Levinthal

More than seven in 10 U.S. Senate-focused television ads last week attacked or criticized a political candidate.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Greg Orman":

"… ted either Republican incumbent Pat Roberts or his independent challenger, Greg Orman. The rest of the ads either contrasted the candidates in stark terms or o …"

Secret politics pervade popular companies

By Dave Levinthal

Some well-known brands keep their political spending secret while others are more forthcoming, new survey shows.

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

"… ertly advocating for or against federal-level candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.  Topping the list is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the natio …"

Oops: Republican super PAC misidentifies source of massive donation

By Michael Beckel

Super PAC acknowledges a $300,000 gift came from parents of GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, not a wealth management firm.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Karl Rove":

"… the Federal Election Commission. The group, co-founded by GOP strategist Karl Rove, listed the Glenmede Trust Company as giving it $300,000 on Aug. 29, part …"

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 "Americans for Prosperity":

"… with the Democrats. The top-spending groups to aid Republicans have been Americans for Prosperity, the politically active nonprofit backed by conservative billionaires Char …"

"… s repeatedly blasted the Koch brothers, who support conservative nonprofit Americans for Prosperity, for their involvement in the race. But the top sponsor of ads in this co …"

"… more than 9,500 ads in the race. That’s about 63 percent more ads than Americans for Prosperity, which has pummeled Hagan for her ties to Obama and her vote for the presi …"

"… for her ties to Obama and her vote for the president’s health care law. Americans for Prosperity’s ads don’t overtly call for Hagan’s defeat, thereby allowing the gr …"

Firearms more likely to be used in suicides than in homicides

By Carmen Forman and Jacob Byk

At least 50 people died per day from firearm suicide; 26 died from firearm homicides.

Excerpts from this story referencing "gun control":

"… ation that any attempt even to talk about safe storage is the beginning of gun control,” Berman said. Legislation isn’t necessary to promote gun safety, sai …"

"… onsored legislation Flatt worked on, told her any mention of gun safety or gun control paired with suicide prevention talk would kill any progress for help to cu …"

Women become increasingly involved in gun groups

By Lauren Loftus and Natalie Krebs

Thanks in part to targeted marketing, more women are buying guns for protection and sport

Center for Public Integrity adds two new reporters to environment and labor team

The Center for Public Integrity’s Pulitzer Prize-winning environment and labor team is pleased to announce the hiring of two reporters.

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

"… r for Public Integrity (202) 481-1232, wgray@publicintegrity.org …"

"… d “Hard Labor.” Founded in 1989 by journalist Charles Lewis, the Center for Public Integrity is one of the country's oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit inv …"

"… tigative journalism. Contacts: William Gray, Media Relations Specialist, Center for Public Integrity (202) 481-1232, wgray@publicintegrity.org …"

Nuclear weapons lab employee fired after publishing scathing critique of the arms race

By Douglas Birch

Los Alamos lets a 17-year employee go after retroactively classifying his published article.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Virginia":

"… yle, who holds a doctorate in international studies from the University of Virginia, has been at Los Alamos for the past 17 years. Before he joined the lab, h …"

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 "National Nuclear Security Administration":

"… epared by the staff of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, part of the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-independent arm of the Energy Department. The NNSA also oversees t …"

Lobbying activity declines among top special interests

By Dave Levinthal

Three-fifths of nation's top 100 lobbying entities spent less on influence in the second quarter compared to a year ago.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Koch Industries":

"… production interests also spent less, including Southern Co., Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, Exelon Corp., Duke Energy and BP. A surprise lobbying spender of 2013 …"

Energy influence in North Dakota is expanding — so what?

By Nicholas Kusnetz and Jared Bennett

A Q & A with reporter Nicholas Kusnetz about the oil and gas industries growing influence in North Dakota.

Excerpts from this story referencing "North Dakota":

"… effective or not. …"

"… e things was the steep rise in the amount of money given to politicians in North Dakota. North Dakota is a small state. Running a political campaign is comparati …"

"… e steep rise in the amount of money given to politicians in North Dakota. North Dakota is a small state. Running a political campaign is comparatively cheaper, a …"

"… s elections and it really seemed to start changing politics in the state. North Dakota has seen similar booms in the past. In the 1970s it was coal mining and in …"

How oil and gas firms gained influence and transformed North Dakota

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Industry has transformed the state, but at what cost?

Excerpts from this story referencing "attorney":

"… ssfully to have a grand jury examine the case). The other members are the attorney general, currently Stenehjem, and the state’s agriculture commissioner, …"

"… this used as part of the permitting process?” said Wade Enget, state’s attorney for Mountrail County, which includes Ross. “They didn’t really have an …"

Montana state senators raise big bucks with secretive nonprofit

By Michael Beckel

Secretive group connected to GOP state Sens. Jason Priest and Ed Walker raised $900,000 in 2012, new documents show.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission":

"… ly suing Montana to force the state to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, which allowed corporations, unions and special interest groups to …"

Energy Dept. confirms it's been on the wrong path since 2007

By Douglas Birch

A newly-released DOE study concludes the department can save billions by shelving a costly South Carolina nuclear fuel factory.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… has been done on the deep borehole idea to estimate the costs. …"

"… iams, a Boston lawyer and equity investor appointed to advise Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, was inspired by a large increase in the estimated cost of bu …"

"… , was $4.8 billion. But the 201-page report, released April 29 on the Energy department’s website, forecast that completing and running the plant wou …"

"… sp;would bring the bottom-line cost to over $16 billion, the report said. Energy officials weren’t immediately available for comment. But downblending wa …"

Federal judges plead guilty

By Reity O'Brien, Kytja Weir and Chris Young

Judges acknowledge conflicts of interest Center found in 26 cases.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wells Fargo":

"… anking giant. Faced with the threat of foreclosure, Bah and his wife sued Wells Fargo Bank beginning in 2008, claiming that the bank engaged in predatory lendin …"

"… gage to the Bowie, Md., house where they live with their three daughters. Wells Fargo, his original complaint alleged, “took advantage” of Bah — a native …"

"… judge federal appellate panel confirmed a district court order in favor of Wells Fargo, dismissing Bah’s claims. At the time, 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal …"

"… bankruptcy in 2009. But he struggles to keep up with mortgage payments to Wells Fargo and now questions the outcome in the case that had been his chance to keep …"

Chemical industry among big spenders on lobbying this quarter

By Dave Levinthal

New numbers indicate it's still good to be a lobbyist in America.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… irm Amgen, Shell Oil, Prudential Financial, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Duke Energy, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, 3M Co. and the Securities …"

Report offers grim predictions for South Texas air quality amid Eagle Ford oil boom

By Jim Morris, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer

State-funded study projects dramatic increase in emissions from oil and gas development by 2018.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… te News. …"

"… A newly released but largely unnoticed study commissioned by the state of Texas makes some striking projections: The number of wells drilled in the 20, …"

"… amo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) in San Antonio and paid for by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The study was designed to dete …"

"… a series of reports about air quality in the Eagle Ford and found that the Texas regulatory system does more to protect the gas and oil industry than the p …"

GAO report again finds black lung proposal supported by science

By Chris Hamby

A new government study supports reducing the dust limit workers encounter in mines; the industry is pushing back against stronger rules.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United Mine Workers of America":

"… ’s given us any reason for that,” said Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America. At the heart of the rule are provisions cutting in half the amount of du …"

States target toxic chemicals as Washington fails to act

By Ronnie Greene

In state capitols from Maine to Oregon, environmental advocates are filing bills to identify and ban noxious chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "political director":

"… ishing pace of TSCA overhaul in D.C. “It’s huge,” said Beth Ahearn, political director for the Maine Conservation Voters. “It creates all the reason we’ …"

Tough new fracking rules in Colorado drawing keen attention in Texas, where boom rages on

By Zahra Hirji, Lisa Song and Jim Morris

Air pollution rules adopted last month in Colorado may have an impact on oil and gas drilling in Texas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… f them — Anadarko Petroleum Corp., DCP Midstream, Encana Corp. and Noble Energy, Inc. — fully support the new regulations. Anadarko and DCP Midstream a …"

Plutonium fever blossoms in Japan

Cronyism, influence-buying and a stifling of dissenting voices have kept the Japanese nuclear industry going strong after Fukushima.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Douglas Birch":

"… ese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, contributed reporting for this article. Douglas Birch is a senior writer at the Center for Public Integrity. R. Jeffrey Smith is …"

Japan could be building an irresistible terrorist target, experts say

Japan has balked at U.S. security advice for its nuclear plants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Japanese government":

"… l reactors designed to burn the plutonium that Rokkasho will produce. The Japanese government has a backup plan to burn a mixture of Rokkasho’s plutonium and uranium …"

"… he joking?” The official’s view, he said, was widely shared inside the Japanese government. “That’s what we were up against,” Maher said. Townsend, in an int …"

"… n security and safety emergencies to private, unarmed security guards. The Japanese government, he said, is heavily dependent on what the utilities decide to do. The of …"

A world awash in a nuclear explosive?

By Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith

Japan is leading a global move towards dangerous reactors fueled by a nuclear explosive, Thomas Cochran and other experts say.

Excerpts from this story referencing "official":

"… 970s, and now he’s at it again — lecturing at symposia, standing up at official meetings, and confronting nuclear industry representatives with warnings a …"

"… ited States — has mostly been greeted by public silence among government officials in allied capitals. But there is little dispute the consequences could b …"

"… ittee expert on arms control. Henry Sokolski, a former Defense Department official who now runs the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington, s …"

"… rs ago this week, is proceeding with the Rokkasho plant, its atomic energy officials say, because abandoning it would kill jobs, bankrupt utilities, and under …"

Nuclear Waste: Auditors find continuing mismanagement at nuclear fuel plant

By Douglas Birch

The GAO complains anew about DOE's unwillingness to investigate cost increases at the MOX plant, and learn from its mistakes there

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… fuel. The NNSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. …"

"… llions more than first estimated, due to what the GAO last year called the Energy agency’s “record of inadequate management and oversight.” The GAO r …"

"… of inadequate management and oversight.” The GAO report found that the Energy department’s April 2013 draft estimate of the total cost of the plutoniu …"

"… ignored key steps in calculating the figure.   A recently-completed Energy Department study of the plutonium plant and alternatives, not yet released …"

As drilling ravages Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale, residents 'living in a Petri dish’

By Jim Morris, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer

In partnership with InsideClimate News and The Weather Channel, Center examines oil industry exploitation of Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Sierra Club":

"… rs as an investigator with a predecessor to the TCEQ and now works for the Sierra Club, said any of the chemicals could cause illness but become more pernicious …"

Saturated with oil money, Texas legislature saved industry from pollution rule

By David Hasemyer, Ben Wieder and Alan Suderman

An effort to impose stricter rules on Texas oil and gas operators in 2011 fizzled after the state legislature got involved.

Excerpts from this story referencing "attorney general":

"… e applied to Chairman Barry Smitherman, who is currently running for Texas attorney general. According to campaign information filed on Jan. 15, he has raised more th …"

Nuclear Waste: Cost of South Carolina fuel plant goes up by billions of dollars — again

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Douglas Birch

The MOX plant may cost another $30 billion to complete and operate, and federal officials are newly wary.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Russia":

"… Cold War-era plutonium as part of a nonproliferation arrangement with Russia would likely cost a total of $25 billion to $30 billion on top of the  …"

"… in the coming year, they said. Initially, U.S. officials anticipated that Russia — which committed years ago to a similar program to convert its plutoniu …"

"… t one government official said that in private diplomatic discussions, the Russians had indicated they might support a U.S. decision instead to transform th …"

"… speed with which that U.S. effort could be completed was attractive to the Russians, the official said. The department’s study was conducted by John MacW …"