National donors pick winners in state elections

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

Two giant D.C.-based players dominated political giving in 2014 state-level elections.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… s Association, and more than $500,000 to state GOP parties in Illinois and Florida. A representative for Griffin declined to comment. Some of the top donor …"

"… lectric utility donated more than $210,000 to the Republican Party of Florida, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.  Duk …"

"… r fees for nuclear plants that do not — and may never — provide power. Florida’s governor and legislature are responsible for naming the members of the …"

Obama administration to open Atlantic coast to drilling, handing victory to governors group

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Administration action a victory for governors group that was subject of Center investigation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… awareness of Arctic issues and the importance of the Arctic region to the United States.” In the statement announcing the Arctic for All campaign, CEA …"

President favors cities offering broadband service

By Alison Fitzgerald and Allan Holmes

President to come out against state laws that prohibit cities from offering broadband service to citizens.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Internet service":

"… esident Barack Obama wants cities and towns to be able to offer high speed Internet service to their residents.  Now the nation’s top telecommunications regula …"

"… uence state elections and buy research to try to stop the spread of public Internet services that often offer faster speeds at cheaper rates.  AT&T alone spe …"

"… 0 states that have laws restricting the ability of municipalities to offer Internet service. Obama intends to make the case for allowing cities and towns to decide f …"

Center’s Medicare Advantage Money Grab series wins Meyer Journalism Award

By William Gray

Center’s ground-breaking Medicare Advantage investigation named first-place winner of the 2014 Philip Meyer Journalism Award.

Excerpts from this story referencing "executive editor":

"… ndividually cited as part of the award. The series was edited by executive editor Gordon Witkin. The Center team spent months searching public records, inc …"

"… AR intern Erin Durkin, and the overall project supervisor for this series, executive editor Gordon Witkin,” added Buzenberg. “I am personally delighted by this la …"

Coal ash no worse than everyday trash, EPA rules

The EPA announced what it called a "milestone" rule for toxic coal ash, but critics say it doesn't go far enough.

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

"… streams, rivers and lakes or tainted the air. In a series of stories, the Center for Public Integrity highlighted the environmental and human health consequences of coal ash. …"

Charities risked tax-exempt status with political ads

By Rachel Baye

The IRS bans charities from participating in elections, but some groups pushed the envelope in 2014.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… eering” communications, the group filed a report with the Federal Election Commission disclosing the spending because the last week of the ad’s run was less t …"

Election ads were about issues, says 'Carolina Rising' chief

By Carrie Levine

'Dark money' nonprofit spends millions backing candidate but says ads are about issues.

Excerpts from this story referencing "North Carolina":

"… esidency.” …"

"… er,” said one ad that aired more than 1,700 times. The ad also mentioned North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican who wasn’t on the ballot this year. In A …"

"… “Those are issue ads. Those are not political ads." Woodhouse, a former North Carolina state leader of Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit affiliated with bill …"

"… group to run positive ads, an approach that stood out in the negative North Carolina race. Larry Noble, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, said Caro …"

Governors and oil industry work hand in hand in offshore drilling group

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Lobbying firm, advocacy organization did much of the work.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bobby Jindal":

"… he federal government. The coalition’s first chairman was Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who as a congressman in 2006 sponsored a bill that would have remove …"

Koch-linked organization uses ‘dark money’ to fight political disclosure

By Michael Beckel

Most of the $13 million raised by American Commitment has come three Koch-backed groups.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Internal Revenue Service":

"… American Commitment, it has done so without disclosing its funders. …"

Hate political ads? Skip morning shows

By Dave Levinthal

'Today,' 'Good Morning America' were top draws for U.S. Senate message machines ahead of the 2014 midterms.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Iowa":

"… ns.-elect Thom Tillis (North Carolina), Tom Cotton (Arkansas), Joni Ernst (Iowa), are among those who bought dozens of ads during "Modern Family" airings. …"

Koch-backed nonprofit raised $44 million in 2013

By Michael Beckel

ObamaCare-bashing Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, raised $44 million in 2013.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Massachusetts":

"… ublic,” according to audited financial documents filed with the state of Massachusetts. Press releases indicate that much of this sum was spent on ads calling a …"

Gillespie's rich friends leave him hanging

By Carrie Levine

Consummate GOP insider Ed Gillespie nearly wins Virginia Senate seat, no thanks to his deep-pocketed friends.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alaska":

"… sted in Virginia’s race like they did in other U.S. Senate contests from Alaska to North Carolina. “Shame on them,” said Howard Leach, one of only si …"

"… tion’s political action committee ran U.S. Senate-focused ads in Kansas, Alaska, Mississippi and Arkansas during the 2014 cycle, according to Kantar Media …"

"… ional Association of Realtors, ran U.S. Senate-focused ads in Mississippi, Alaska, Kentucky, Michigan and Kansas but also avoided the Senate race in Virgini …"

GOP rides cavalry to U.S. Senate majority

By Michael Beckel, Dave Levinthal and Carrie Levine

Super PACs, 'dark money' nonprofits help make Election Day difference as Republicans seize a U.S. Senate majority

Excerpts from this story referencing "North Carolina":

"… successful strategy of linking Democratic candidates — from Colorado to North Carolina — to an increasingly unpopular President Barack Obama and his policies. …"

"… least one of every five ads in six of the hottest Senate races: Arkansas, North Carolina, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana and Michigan. According to a Center for Pu …"

"… mmittees also reported spending an additional $14 million.) Similarly, in North Carolina, incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and state House Speaker Thom Tillis, …"

"… st, yet Hagan still lost to Tillis on Tuesday night. In the final days of North Carolina’s race, which will likely go down as the most expensive Senate contest i …"

The meanest U.S. Senate races of all

By Chris Kirk and Dave Levinthal

Many of the nation's most competitive U.S. races featured the most negative political advertising.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Kay Hagan":

"… est races had the most mudslinging. In North Carolina, where the U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, and Thom Tillis, a Republican, have been locked in a dead hea …"

Surprise! No. 1 super PAC backs Democrats

By Carrie Levine and Dave Levinthal

To the surprise of many, the top-spending super PAC this election backs Democrats, not Republicans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "CEO":

"… Simons Foundation and the daughter of James Simons, the founder and former CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, explained in an email why she gave …"

Election 2014 by the numbers

By Michael Beckel

A new Center for Public Integrity money-in-politics index highlights key facts about the most expensive midterm in history.

Excerpts from this story referencing "health care reform law":

"… aces that have mentioned President Barack Obama or the Obamacare health care reform law: 445,000 Minimum number of pro-Hillary Clinton super PACs registered to d …"

U.S. Senate races to attract 1 million TV ads

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Super PACs, nonprofits help fuel relentlessly negative messaging in U.S. Senate races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Colorado":

"… rement, voters saw about one U.S. Senate-focused ad a minute. And in both Colorado and Georgia, voters were subjected to about two TV ads every three minutes …"

Power shifts to outsiders in U.S. Senate fight

By Michael Beckel

Battle for control determined in large part by big-spending super PACs and nonprofits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Sunlight Foundation":

"… he other guy does,” says Kathy Kiely, managing editor of the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which tracks money in politics. Democratic super PACs on top When it com …"

North Carolina's state of political hate

By Dave Levinthal

North Carolina's U.S. Senate race is the nation's nastiest — and few are particularly friendly affairs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Massachusetts":

"… ng Republican challenger Scott Brown on his record as a politician in Massachusetts. For the third week in a row, with more than 800 ads, WMUR-TV 9  …"

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 "North Carolina":

"… sed attack ads splashed across Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina. The National Republican Senatorial Committee produced about 1,900 demonst …"

"… 1,900 demonstrably nasty ads targeting Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa or North Carolina. But Senate election ugliness smacked Kansas harder than any other state …"

"… other station nationwide. It also led all stations the week before. North Carolina’s Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan faces Republican Thom Til …"

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 "Politics":

"… ondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. “It’s preferred to have the outside group doing the really brutal st …"

Democrats seize air supremacy in Senate battlegrounds

By Dave Levinthal and Michael Beckel

Liberals aired more TV ads last week than their conservative foils in seven of the nine top Senate battlegrounds races.

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

"… embraced the political spending freedoms created by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision of 2010, said John Carroll, a mass communications professor at Bo …"

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 "North Carolina":

"… te elections, where three political ads run every five minutes in Iowa and North Carolina.  For state-level races ranging from governor to state board of educa …"

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 "Thom Tillis":

"… nt Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, is vying for re-election against Republican Thom Tillis, who currently serves as the state’s House speaker. North Carolina has l …"

Senate Democrats lead TV ad blitz

By Michael Beckel

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee aired more TV ads in key Senate races last week than any other group.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Karl Rove":

"… ’s a chance Republicans may not take the Senate,” wrote GOP strategist Karl Rove in a fundraising message for the NRSC on Wednesday. “Why? The Democrats …"

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 "University of Oklahoma":

"… his year,” said Tyler Johnson, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma. “You have 20-plus governors running for re-election, so you’re immedi …"

"… ave long provided the “best of both worlds,” according to Johnson, the University of Oklahoma professor. “They get outsiders who are willing to attack and get those …"

"… at it removes curriculum control from local decision-makers. Johnson, the University of Oklahoma professor, said criticism of Barresi’s position on the policy ultimately …"

Iowa, Michigan bombarded with political ads

By Michael Beckel

Open-seat Senate battles in Iowa and Michigan have attracted a flurry of TV ads.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitch McConnell":

"… than any other candidate’s campaign except for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to estimates by Kantar Media/CMAG. McConnell is battl …"

Mitch McConnell revs ad machine

By Michael Beckel

Kentucky’s embattled senior senator has aired roughly one campaign ad every five minutes since Labor Day.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic Party":

"… ages in battleground states this year. The DSCC is an official arm of the Democratic Party. It discloses its funders and can only accept contributions no larger than …"

GOP’s Senate hopes energized by Koch network ad blitz

By Michael Beckel

How many TV ads have groups connected to the billionaire brothers aired in your state?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic Party":

"… lp “offset the incumbent advantage.” In more than a dozen states, the Democratic Party finds itself on the defensive, as Republicans seek to wrest control of the …"

Can this 'dark money' group help the Democrats keep the Senate?

By Michael Beckel

Patriot Majority USA raises millions from unknown sources to play attack dog in the South.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Service Employees International Union":

"… d seven-figure sums from at least two labor unions: $1.14 million from the Service Employees International Union, including $280,000 from the SEIU’s state council in Pennsylvania, and $ …"