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 "Illinois":

"… e who is calling the shots and where the money is being spent. Though the Illinois state senate is long behind Barack Obama, the president has been a hot top …"

Prison bankers cash in on captive customers

By Daniel Wagner

Private company profits by helping prisons squeeze inmates' families for cash.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… ing relatives, says Linda Dolan, 58, a manager for a defense contractor in California. Last year, when her son was sentenced to 20 days in jail in St. Lucie Cou …"

New types of health care delivery are improving the 'patient experience'

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: eliminating role of insurers could improve health care delivery.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… ompanies. One example: the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in California, which earlier this year began offering its own Medicare Advantage plan to …"

Non-candidate spending increases in state elections

By Rachel Baye, Reity O'Brien, Kytja Weir and Ben Wieder

TV ad spending in state elections since 2010 is down, but the portion ponied up by political nonprofits and state-level super PACs rises.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… aforementioned NextGen Climate Action Committee ($2.3 million), created by California hedge fund manager and environmentalist Tom Steyer. The increase in spendi …"

"… he same point in 2010, for example, the open gubernatorial contest in California alone had accounted for more than $100 million in estimated advertisi …"

Contractor, Hispanic worker deaths up in 2013, BLS says

By Talia Buford

The number of contractors and Hispanic workers who died on the job increased in 2013 even as the overall tally of worker deaths declined.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… t years strengthening employer liability for temporary workers. In August, California’s legislature passed AB 1897, which would require host companies as …"

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 "Illinois":

"… eking suicide data for 2012, the most recent year available, but Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island denied requests fo …"

"… stics or could not be reached. The FBI received limited homicide data from Illinois and Alabama and none from Florida. That firearm suicides outnumbered fire …"

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 "Claire McCaskill":

"… ion and name-dropped seven federal lawmakers, including Sens. Kit Bond and Claire McCaskill and now-Sen. Roy Blunt, each of Missouri. In a separate 2012 contract …"

Growing number of biosafety labs raises public health concern

By James Arkin

Construction of new biosafety labs a waste of money, possible threat to public health, say reports and experts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… oups, Nuclear Watch New Mexico and Tri-Valley CAREs, located in Livermore, California. In the environmental assessment, Los Alamos’ management said that rese …"

Campaign shenanigans are top targets for Office of Congressional Ethics

By Dave Levinthal

Office of Congressional Ethics investigates House members' campaign shenanigans more than any other alleged violation.

Afghans don’t like soybeans, despite a big U.S. push

By Alexander Cohen and James Arkin

Washington ignored warnings that Afghans were unlikely to embrace protein-rich soy products.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… first visited the country eleven years ago, while he was a nutritionist in California with the Nestlé food company, to give a lecture at Balkh University in Ma …"

Lobbyists boost Senate Democrats

By Michael Beckel

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

CPI-NPR collaboration wins Edward R. Murrow Award

A 2013 investigation of worker deaths in grain bins has won an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association

Excerpts from this story referencing "NPR":

"… sp;  …"

"… adio category. In online and radio stories, the Center’s Jim Morris and NPR’s Howard Berkes focused on a 2010 accident in Mt. Carroll, Ill., in whic …"

Outside money pouring into governors races

By Ben Wieder

Dem, GOP associations are spending more than double as much on governors' races in the 2014 cycle than at the same period in 2010.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… d $1.5 million to a committee supporting the Republican challenger in Illinois, Bruce Rauner, along with contributions to Republican groups in Texas …"

Nearly $100 million in campaign cash sits idle

By Dave Levinthal

What happens to campaign money of former congressional candidates? It often sits in accounts for years.

U.S. Chamber targets Dems in state attorney general races

By Ben Wieder

Why are powerful business interests underwriting ads in AG races in the states?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… ifle Association, was also active in 2002 state attorneys general races in Illinois and Kansas. It’s unknown whether the Chamber supported the LEAA’s spen …"

Koch brothers, major corporations sponsor pension reform seminar for judges

By Chris Young

Judges who may decide fates of public pension reform disputes to attend seminar sponsored by pro-business interests.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… enges. In some states and cities, reforms have already reached the courts. Illinois, for example, passed legislation in late 2013 that cut retirement benefits …"

"… ince filed several lawsuits, claiming that the pension changes violate the Illinois Constitution, which explicitly states that contractual pension benefits …"

"… nsion benefits “shall not be diminished or impaired.” Now the fate of Illinois’ pension reform efforts rests in the hands of the courts. How they rule …"

"… f the courts. How they rule could have nationwide implications. “If the Illinois Supreme Court says that what the Illinois legislature did is constitutiona …"

Super PAC leaders score perks from political donations

By Julie Patel

Super PAC founders enjoy fine dining, big salaries and a steady business for their consulting firms.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… amined. The money went to 1911 United’s bus tour to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and Louisiana to raise awareness about youth gun vio …"

Casinos and offshore companies battle for billions in online gambling push

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Congress, states and a rich mix of characters argue over regulation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… lotteries wanted to use that opening to sell tickets online. New York and Illinois asked the Justice Department whether such a move would be legal, and in la …"

"… nternet gambling this year, including Massachusetts, California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Mississippi, where a bill was introduced but failed t …"

For problem gamblers, a powerful online rush 'like any drug addict feels'

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Critics fear Internet betting will lead to more problem gamblers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… In the 1990s, for example, Earl Grinols, an economist at the University of Illinois who now teaches at Baylor University, began comparing revenue brought in b …"

New report ranks best, worst states for kids of all ethnicities

By Susan Ferriss

Ethnic minority children will be majority of U.S. kids in four years, but face barriers to success in some places.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… tantial Asian populations, Asian kids did best in New Jersey, Maryland and Illinois. White kids scored highest in Massachusetts and New Jersey. And Latinos fa …"

Pro-transparency tea party activist trounced

By Michael Beckel

In primary, Rep. Adam Kinzinger defeats tea party foe who wants congressmen to display donors' corporate logos.

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 "Illinois":

"… es. Paul Dickman, a senior policy fellow at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, the center of U.S. breeder reactor research, said Rokkasho is “a great …"

Netflix stacking deck on Capitol Hill

By Dave Levinthal

'House of Cards' distributor is accelerating its own political efforts in Washington.

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 "Illinois":

"… bid to be Virginia's governor. It was also active in a U.S. House race in Illinois and the special U.S. Senate election in New Jersey. Bloomberg has said th …"

Democrats easily outpace Republicans in super PAC fundraising race

By Michael Beckel

Democrats are fully embracing the independent political money groups they once derided in an effort to retain the Senate this year.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… , giving $1 million. Meanwhile, investor Virginia James of New Jersey and Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein each gave $500,000 to the Club for Growth’s …"

Billionaires boost Republican governors group past Democrats in fundraising

By Ben Wieder

GOP governors' group outraises counterpart, but Democrats still expected to win a few races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… overning magazine. The most vulnerable Democrats, meanwhile, appear to be Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, according to recent po …"

Lauded public health researcher also worked for industry, revealing entanglements of science

By David Heath

A late UC Berkeley dean pushed public health reforms — while also working for industry, revealing the deep reach of corporate science.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Dow Chemical":

"… Buffler already had a long history of consulting for companies, including Dow Chemical, DuPont, Union Carbide, Shell Oil, Goodyear and Atlantic Richfield. Leukem …"

Pro-lesbian super PAC founder and Obama bundler named to top arts post

By Michael Beckel

Pro-lesbian super PAC founder and Obama campaign bundler Laura Ricketts named Kennedy Center trustee.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… the mayor of Houston and the enactment of marriage equality legislation in Illinois, among other activities. Ricketts herself has also donated an additional …"

State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information

By Reity O'Brien, Kytja Weir and Chris Young

Despite universally poor disclosure rules, Center finds numerous conflicts among state high court judges.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… ot need the types of disclosure rules that are necessary in states such as Illinois or New York. “You really have to watch public officials in those states …"

'Citizens United' ruling helped unions win state elections

By Alan Suderman and Ben Wieder

National unions, business groups focused on states in 2012 elections with unions gaining the edge, new analysis shows.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… ow. Major Democratic donor Fred Eychaner gave $215,000 to one in Illinois called Personal PAC Independent Committee. For candidates on the receivin …"

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