Ad war winners take governors' mansions

By Ben Wieder, Reity O'Brien and Rachel Baye

Three out of four races won by top spending candidates and their allies

Excerpts from this story referencing "University of Virginia’s Center":

"… lot to governors’ races,” said Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. Two independent groups backed by billionaires had mixed resu …"

Secretive groups spend millions to influence state elections

By Reity O'Brien

Nonprofits hit TV airwaves with attacks on state-level candidates, gaining traction since the U.S. Supreme Court 'Citizens United' decision.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Virginia":

"… ansas and most other states. One group called the Alliance for Freedom, a Virginia-based conservative nonprofit, sponsored ads touting Brownback’s accompli …"

"… n, according to Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. “It’s preferred to have the outside group …"

"… contests this cycle. The Law Enforcement Alliance of America, another Virginia-based nonprofit was active in Michigan’s state supreme court and attorne …"

Eyeballs burn in North Carolina, Iowa ahead of U.S. Senate elections

By Michael Beckel

Last week, North Carolina, Iowa residents saw three political ads focused on contentious Senate elections every five minutes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bruce Braley":

"… Harkin’s plans to retire at the end of the term. There, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley is running against Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst. In both states, Repu …"

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 "Governor":

"… uch groups. The top spending independent groups so far are the Republican Governors Association at $11.4 million, Florida’s conservative Let's Get to Work …"

"… tive Let's Get to Work political committee ($10.8 million), the Democratic Governors Association ($5.1 million), the union-backed Illinois Freedom Political A …"

"… lves. The top independent spender nationally has been the Republican Governors Association, which along with its state-level subsidiaries has spent $11. …"

"… d the candidate that would be illegal in most states. The Democratic Governors Association, which along with the Republican Governors Association advoca …"

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 "National Rifle Association":

"… the firearms available, Berman said. “The problem of course is the NRA (National Rifle Association) and their interpretation that any attempt even to talk about safe storage …"

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "New Mexico":

"… r person, also a woman, Tara Mica-Reilly, the NRA state liaison for Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana and Mississippi. “I believe that women bring patience and lo …"

Gun rights debate enters a new arena: the campus

By Wade Millward and Carmen Forman

The right to carry a firearm onto college campuses has become another issue in the gun control debate

Excerpts from this story referencing "president":

"… ones, where murderers come on campus and kill kids." Hammer, a former NRA president and the organization's longtime lobbyist in Florida, said that NRA will us …"

State lawmakers take aim at federal gun control

By Justine McDaniel, Robby Korth and Jessica Boehm

A growing collection of state legislatures seeks to disqualify federal gun control laws

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Rifle Association":

"… am Brownback. The measures often fizzle, even in conservative states. The National Rifle Association doesn’t support nullifying federal gun laws because that could undo NRA …"

Decades old gun control debate reshaped by new advocacy groups

The gun control movement has made significant gains in recent years, but the NRA remains king of the hill

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Rifle Association":

"… ttention on the topic have not been enough to change federal gun laws. The National Rifle Association, still the most powerful entity in the war over guns in America, no longer …"

Pat Roberts' merry band of boosters

By Dave Levinthal

Outside groups are using the power of positivity to help save career of Kansas' longtime U.S. senator.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia":

"… ese negative ads, which paint Roberts as an out-of-touch back bencher. The Georgia-based Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund accounts for the rest of the a …"

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 "Energy":

"… , including Southern Co., Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, Exelon Corp., Duke Energy and BP. A surprise lobbying spender of 2013 — the upstart National Asso …"

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 "member":

"… te America in a big way,” said Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, a member of the executive committee for the RAGA. “It was a wakeup call. These gu …"

"… slammed by a front group backed by the chamber. Deborah Senn can still remember the morning she first saw an ad sponsored by a group called the Voters Edu …"

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 "National Rifle Association":

"… llion during the first quarter of 2014 and again outspent the better-known National Rifle Association. “There’s a reason [gun control] legislation] hasn’t been going any …"

Education groups battle teachers unions in state races

By Rachel Baye

Groups funded by billionaires back state-level candidates who want to weaken teachers unions and promote charter schools.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tennessee":

"… ined fundraising levels of 2013 with some nostalgia.” …"

"… x days later, another $52,000 in materials appeared. By Election Day, the Tennessee affiliate of StudentsFirst, the education-focused organization behind the …"

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 "Washington":

"… without much competition from U.S.-based media. It seems that reporters in Washington in particular can’t be bothered. Over the past several decades, one of …"

"… size of the company. Meanwhile, just blocks from Capitol Hill where many Washington reporters spend their days, ALEC last week held its annual “policy summi …"

A year after Newtown, searching for answers in the nation’s schools

By Nicholas Kusnetz

A year after Newtown, communities searching for answers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington":

"… izza with our kids and we said we wanted to focus on school safety.” In Washington, much of the debate focused on the angry and incendiary issue of guns. Way …"

Police killing of boy, 13, with pellet gun spotlights foiled attempts to regulate replicas

By Susan Ferriss

Andy Lopez, 13, was shot dead by deputies in California who came upon him walking with a pellet gun shaped like an AK-47.

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Rifle Association":

"… r for Public Integrity reported on how pressure from retail stores and the National Rifle Association helped defeat a bill by Sen. Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, who ca …"

Lobbying dips overall, but the beat goes on for guns, drugs and agriculture

By Dave Levinthal

But third-quarter expenditures are down for many special interests.

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Rifle Association":

"… ion during the year’s second quarter. It easily bested the better-known National Rifle Association and its subsidiaries, which together spent a healthy $820,000 during the t …"

Gun groups raising unprecedented cash in 2013

By Adam Wollner and Reity O'Brien

Advocates, opponents of firearms control gin up money machine as Congress debates legislation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bloomberg":

"… y former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg brought in about $8.6 million during the first half of the year, a Center …"

"… as more than any other super PAC raised during that period. Additionally, Bloomberg has provided his group, Independence USA PAC, with more than $2 million du …"

"… co-founder Sean Parker. Giffords’ super PAC also received $250,000 from Bloomberg, who has been a leading figure in the gun control debate. Bloomberg’s s …"

"… from Bloomberg, who has been a leading figure in the gun control debate. Bloomberg’s super PAC has been most active this year in Illinois’ 2nd congressio …"

Youth: Stand Your Ground laws put us at risk

By Susan Ferriss and Joy Crane

Youths in Florida and other states speak out against Stand Your Ground laws, racial profiling, following Zimmerman verdict.

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Rifle Association":

"… the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The proposal was pushed by the National Rifle Association, which contributed heavily to Republican legislators running for office an …"

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 "National Rifle Association":

"… ly four times the second-quarter lobbying expenditures of the better-known National Rifle Association, which itself spent a near-record $840,000 during the year’s second quar …"

D.C.-based groups bombarded state high court races with ads

By Alan Suderman and Ben Wieder

Nearly $12 million spent by super PACs and nonprofits in 2012-13 state supreme court races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "director of Americans":

"… ity estimates they spent less than $100,000. Slade O’Brien, the Florida director of Americans for Prosperity, says he was looking to deter “judicial activism and legi …"

Gun lobby's money and power still holds sway over Congress

By Alan Berlow and Gordon Witkin

But lawmakers' fear may not be entirely justified.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… ng her one term in Congress. Independence USA PAC also scored a victory in California where it spent $3.3 million to defeat an NRA A-rated Republican, Joe Baca, …"

Gun groups, defense contractors buck downward trend in lobbying

By Dave Levinthal

Gun groups, defense contractors, oil companies and Facebook increased spending on lobbying last quarter.

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Hospital Association":

"… ion to $4.3 million), General Electric ($5.7 million to $5.2 million), the American Hospital Association ($4.5 million to $3.8 million), Verizon Communications ($4.6 million to $3 …"

NRA spends record money on lobbying this year

By Dave Levinthal

Pro-gun organization increases influence effort as congressional debate rages.

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

"… than it has during any previous year, according to data maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics, but spending during this year's first quarter puts it on pace to exc …"

Controversy over cops in schools flares anew

By Susan Ferriss

Push for more police post-Newtown runs up against concern about 'school-to-prison pipeline'

Excerpts from this story referencing "Ohio":

"… for fiscal year 2014. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the president’s proposals would go to appropriate committees. A&nb …"

EPA unaware of industry ties on cancer review panel

By David Heath and Ronnie Greene

An EPA panel appointed to study hexavalent chromium included scientists who had consulted for industry in lawsuits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "senior director":

"… times the amount spent by the National Rifle Association. David Fischer, a senior director at the ACC, defended the group’s research program. “We feel we have an …"

Current gun debate may not help beleaguered ATF

By Alan Berlow

Federal gun cops handicapped by weak laws, stagnant budgets and Congressional restrictions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Oklahoma City":

"… another ATF-hater, Timothy McVeigh, blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla., killing 168 people — including 19 children under the age of 6. M …"

Super Bowl ad cost Mayors Against Illegal Guns $100,000

By Michael Beckel

Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns drops $100K on ad during NFL's biggest game of the year, new records show.

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Rifle Association":

"… Beautiful," along with 1999 congressional testimony by Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association's current executive vice president and CEO. "The NRA once supported backg …"

ATF's struggle to close down firearms dealers

By Fred Schulte

Agency's crippled oversight of the industry means troubled gun dealers can stay open for years.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives":

"… ught or sold during the previous three years, according to agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. These and other violations led ATF to revoke his license to sell guns in …"