Pennsylvania super PAC gets 'dark money' infusion

By Michael Beckel

Nonprofit Green Orchard Inc. is listed as the sole donor to new Prosperity for Pennsylvania super PAC.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… with “dark money,” according to a new campaign finance filing with the Federal Election Commission. The sole donor to Prosperity for Pennsylvania is listed as nonprofit Gre …"

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 "Pennsylvania":

"… ieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania who’s work focuses heavily on political communication. “Importantly, v …"

Open pits offer cheap disposal for fracking sludge, but health worries mount

By David Hasemyer and Zahra Hirji

Air emissions from oil and gas waste are among the least regulated, least monitored and least understood components of the fracking boom.

Excerpts from this story referencing "oil and gas industry":

"… d by the state’s Railroad Commission, the primary regulator for the oil and gas industry. The agency considers the projects’ effects on water, but not on air qua …"

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 "Washington":

"… using the money for campaign donations. The company also sought to lobby Washington for access to the federal Bureau of Prisons’ 216,000 inmates — what Sh …"

"… State Bank Supervisors, a trade group that represents these regulators in Washington. “State banking regulators are concerned with ensuring that businesses …"

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 "Illinois":

"… dy spent, followed by Texas ($36.8 million), Florida ($33.7 million), Illinois ($26.4 million) and New York ($14.5 million). Through Sept. 8, one d …"

"… on), the Democratic Governors Association ($5.1 million), the union-backed Illinois Freedom Political Action Committee ($4.9 million) and the aforementioned N …"

"… ollowed by Maryland ($3.48), Nebraska ($3.12) and Illinois ($2.94). Spending in all five states is significantly higher than wha …"

"… nsylvania ($35.5 million), Florida ($31.8 million) and Illinois ($26 million) leading the pack. Andrew Cuomo’s bid to remain the De …"

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 …"

Bill aims to stop coal companies from denying benefits to miners with black lung

By Chris Hamby

Two coal-state senators plan to introduce legislation to reform the federal benefits program for black lung victims.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pennsylvania":

"… C News. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Robert Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, aims to put a stop to …"

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 "Center for Responsive Politics":

"… n — was first identified as a contributor to Patriot Majority USA by the Center for Responsive Politics. Greg Crist, a spokesman for the American Health Care Association, declin …"

How big telecom smothers city-run broadband

By Allan Holmes

Municipal broadband boosts business, but often stops at city limits thanks to lobbying muscle of telecom giants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Massachusetts":

"… t. City-provided broadband widespread More than 130 cities from Norwood, Massachusetts, to Clallam County, Washington, currently offer fiber or cable Internet co …"

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 "Massachusetts":

"… or 2012, the most recent year available, but Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island denied requests for statistics or could not …"

Firearms used in homicides often purchased illegally

By Kelsey Jukam, Aaron Maybin and Jordan Rubio

A News21 analysis of the FBI’s national database of supplementary homicide reports found that across the country, 17,422 black men between a

Excerpts from this story referencing "Louisiana":

"… nished battle. But a war still courses through the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In the past decade, it’s claimed the lives of hundreds of people —&nb …"

"… you get out here and shoot you somebody. You get yourself a body.”  Louisiana’s murder rate has been the highest in the country, with 10.8 murders for …"

"… country, with 10.8 murders for every 100,000 people. Some have attributed Louisiana’s high murder rate to the prevalence of weapons in the state and its str …"

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 "Department of Energy":

"… used for or why it is needed, according to a report released last week by Department of Energy Inspector General Gregory Friedman. Friedman wrote that the $9.5 million …"

"… . Most of the work would come from other federal agencies rather than the Department of Energy, the IG report said, while the demand for work from these agencies is less …"

EPA: No comment on fracking air pollution

By Jim Morris and Lisa Song

No one at the Environmental Protection Agency has been willing to talk on the record about air pollution associated with fracking in Texas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pennsylvania":

"… ta, the Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming and the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania. Our first attempt at an on-the-record interview was with Ron Curry, the …"

Families sick from fracking turn to scientists

By Lisa Song

A Pennsylvania nonprofit provides free health consultations to people who live near gas drilling sites and complain of health effects.

Excerpts from this story referencing "reporter":

"… ing,” he said. “But I think we should find out."  Lisa Song is a reporter for InsideClimate News. …"

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 "Senate":

"… an Mike Armstrong, and he raised a total of $20,750, the third most of any Senate candidate, with $17,500 of that coming from oil company PACs or people tie …"

"… . “We were pretty much outgunned,” said Richard Brauhn, the Democratic Senate candidate, who raised $1,975 and mustered just 25 percent of the vote. Ar …"

"… the distance and that doing so could lead to less orderly development. The Senate bill died after the hearing, and the House version survived only after lan …"

"… le said the only one that really matters is Ness, who has, in the words of Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, “a damn good relationship with the Legisla …"

Medicare Advantage plans require more scrutiny

By Fred Schulte

Government inspector says private Medicare plans difficult to investigate due to lack of access to data.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… or says. Gary Cantrell, a deputy Inspector General with the Department of Health and Human Services said reviews are “hampered by a lack of accurate, tim …"

Credit rating industry dodges reforms, despite role in financial meltdown

By Alison Fitzgerald

Despite playing a central role in the economic collapse, firms that gave inflated ratings to toxic bonds remain untouched by reforms.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate":

"… economic earthquake from which the aftershocks continue today,” said the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in a 2011 report. Post-cris …"

"… so would have hurt their own revenues,” said the report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The investigations, including a …"

"… system for assigning ratings rather than having issuers bid for them. The Senate approved it in May 2010 by a vote of 64-35. Then-Senate Banking Committee …"

"… bid for them. The Senate approved it in May 2010 by a vote of 64-35. Then-Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and House Financial …"

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 "Republican Governors Association":

"… all as they duel over governorships in 36 states. Through March, the Republican Governors Association has spent five times more around the country than it did at the …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… s having serious heart disease.  It took years for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general to publish those findings, and …"

"… ing errors tied to a complex payment formula known as a “risk score.” Health plans collect medical data that is used to compute the Health risks for ea …"

"… and secretive that it remains unfathomable to many Health professionals. Health plans that cheat can face civil or criminal penalties, but federal officia …"

"… Advantage contracts, records show.  CMS is but one part of the giant Health and Human Services Department. The HHS Office of Inspector General is supp …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "oil":

"… t the wife of one of the judges owned up to $100,000 worth of stock in the oil company at the time of the panel’s decision. The New Orleans-based 5th …"

"… t accused ExxonMobil and its chairman of maliciously and illegally raising oil and gas prices. But the court reopened the case on May 15, one day after …"

"… hat Judge Thomas Reavley did not know that his wife had owned stock in the oil company until seven years after the court ruled. Reavley is married to fel …"

Comcast-Time Warner deal may hinge on anemic low-cost Internet plan

By Allan Holmes

Comcast Corp. will use heavily criticized broadband program for the poor to persuade regulators to OK Time Warner buyout.

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

"… agencies last year, the seventh-most of any corporation, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The company’s political action committee has raised $2.6 million so fa …"

Who’s bankrolling secretive liberal group America Votes?

By Michael Beckel

A dozen anonymous donors accounted for most of the $12.7 million America Votes raised during its last fiscal year.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Politics":

"… America Votes in the past, according research by the Center for Responsive Politics and a Center for Public Integrity review of tax filings maintained by Citi …"

Juvenile injustice: truants face courts, jailing without legal counsel to aid them

By Susan Ferriss

Court procedures leave minor offenders with few rights.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Law":

"… who later represented A.G. and oversees the Knoxville campus’ Education Law Practicum.  Due to litigation that’s pending, Irwin declined repea …"

"… o bono idea, which remains in limbo. On the court’s behalf, Knox County Law Director Richard Armstrong sent a letter to the Center for Public Integrit …"

"… 12, more than 9,600 minors were taken to court for truancy. The Education Law Practicum Rivkin supervises offers pro bono help to Knoxville area familie …"

Toomey discloses trip after inquiry

By Michael Beckel

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey failed to disclose a March trip to an exclusive, 'off-the-record' conference.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitt Romney":

"… setting.  Republican politicians such as former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and New Jersey Go …"

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 "San Francisco":

"… le so far. The super PAC’s expenses don’t bother Margaret Kavounas, a San Francisco retiree who donated $1,000 to the group last year after she said Brock per …"

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 "Sheldon Adelson":

"… s based in exotic locales like Costa Rica and Gibraltar. One casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson, a prominent backer of conservative political causes, has pledged to spend …"

How watchdog journalism makes a difference

By Bill Buzenberg

Impact from 'Breathless and Burdened' a textbook example of the power of relentless reporting.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Robert Casey":

"… miners qualify for these initiatives, and called for further action. Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., said: "While this is certainly an encouraging development, it’s …"

Air monitoring in fracking areas fails to detect spikes in toxic emissions, new study says

By Lisa Song and Jim Morris

A new study finds that common air monitoring methods are all but useless in capturing intense, short-term emissions from gas development.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pennsylvania":

"… Reviews on Environmental Health. The study was conducted by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, a nonprofit based near Pittsburgh. A health …"

"… funding their environmental agencies generously." No easy solutions The Pennsylvania report is the latest demonstration of how little is known about the health …"

"… ntist at the University of California-Irvine who was not involved with the Pennsylvania study, said the group’s paper shows the lack of a one-size-fits-all solu …"

"… the Eagle Ford, the TCEQ has up to 30 days to investigate a complaint. In Pennsylvania, the deadline is usually two weeks. In Colorado, inspectors often respond …"

Ready for Hillary courts super PAC skeptics

By Michael Beckel

Ready for Hillary is courting 'Citizens United' skeptics — and finding success.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Sheldon Adelson":

"… al tools so often wielded by billionaires such as Republican casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson. “Super PACs can be anything,” she said. “Until we have a change in …"

Wireless companies fight for their futures

By Allan Holmes

A rare auction of wireless spectrum may determine who controls your cell phone.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… ket, respectively, according to the report. Competition or revenue? When Congress ordered the FCC in 2012 to hold the spectrum auction, the goals were to in …"

"… $2.8 million in 2013. The spending pays for lobbyists to visit members of Congress, or to urge them to call or write the agency. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., …"

"… bert Latta from Ohio, received among the largest campaign contributions in Congress from AT&T’s and Verizon’s PACs for the 2012 elections — a total …"

"… ary of commerce in the Clinton administration and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, Congress’ economic research arm — published a  …"

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