Obama administration let opponents define the Affordable Care Act

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Obama administration let foes define Affordable Care Act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Obama":

"… form with both Mitt Romney, when he was governor of Massachusetts, and the Obama administration. In fact, he’s one of the reasons Obamacare looks so much …"

"… chusetts, and the Obama administration. In fact, he’s one of the reasons Obamacare looks so much like Romneycare, which Massachusetts lawmakers enacted i …"

"… rence at the University of Pennsylvania last year, Gruber claimed that the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats had no choice but to keep the p …"

"… ob in 2008 was because of those abuses. When he was running for president, Obama often cited those abuses, but after he became president, he and those arou …"

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 "Florida":

"… outspent their opponents by more than $1 million. In some states, such as Florida, the successful candidates and their supporters outspent their rivals by h …"

"… former Gov. Charlie Crist and his allies. The heavy spending also made the Florida contest the most expensive TV ad war in the country this election. Scott …"

"… yer, helped knock out Corbett in Pennsylvania but didn’t find success in Florida or Maine where it supported Democrats. Meanwhile former New York City May …"

"… sp;But it struck out in Maryland, where it backed Brown, the Democrat. In Florida, Scott won re-election with help from more than $10 million in ads sponsor …"

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 "World Health Organization":

"… g contained high levels of formaldehyde, classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. All were taken near compressor stations, which pressurize natural gas so …"

Mega-donors give big to state candidates

By Rachel Baye, Reity O'Brien and Ben Wieder

More than two dozen donors have given at least $1 million to state-level campaigns ahead of Nov. 4.

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

"… dependent spending groups, having given $14 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. A representative for Eychaner declined to comment. On the other side, G …"

Pennsylvania congressman launches frack waste investigation

By David Hasemyer and Zahra Hirji

Congressman Matt Cartwright, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, is asking state officials to review environmental exemptions for fracking waste.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pennsylvania":

"… ion of growing national concern about the disposal of oil and gas waste, a Pennsylvania congressman launched an investigation Wednesday into the way his …"

"… xic material. Rep. Matthew Cartwright, a first-term Democrat from eastern Pennsylvania, wants to know more about how the contaminated leftovers from hydraulic fr …"

"… crack open shale bedrock to extract fossil fuel reserves, has transformed Pennsylvania into the third-largest state producer of natural gas behind Texas and …"

"… Wednesday Cartwright sent a letter to Dana Aunkst, the acting secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). "The Subcommittee minorit …"

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 "Virginia":

"… ary of Green Orchard’s financial largess last year was the YG Network, a Virginia-based nonprofit closely aligned with former Republican House Majority Lead …"

"… It received $1 million. Its second-largest contribution: $900,000 to the Virginia-based Legislative Education Action Drive, which "seeks to enhance the deba …"

"… of the Prosperity for Pennsylvania super PAC. Dion, now a partner at the Virginia-based firm Revolution Agency, did not immediately respond to a request for …"

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 "Scott Brown":

"… week: New Hampshire, where Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen faces Republican Scott Brown (8 percent of TV ads were positive). That wasn’t a downer for WMUR-TV 9, …"

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 "United States":

"… fossil fuel waste was approved in 1988, oil and gas production in the United States was dropping and finding more domestic supplies was a national impera …"

"… down a well to crack open bedrock and tap deeply buried fossil fuels. The United States has so much oil and gas, in fact, that the industry is lobbying Congress f …"

"… ide, rules begin to tighten As oil and gas development spreads across the United States, more communities are raising concerns about the industry’s waste. At l …"

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 "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission":

"… ees can be traced in part to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, decided early in 2010. The ruling gave the green light to unions and corp …"

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 "BuzzFeed":

"… mby, a former reporter with the Center for Public Integrity, now works for BuzzFeed. …"

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 "Bill Clinton":

"… re-election. He’s also worked on the presidential campaigns of Democrats Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry, among others. Patriot Majority USA’s other dir …"

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 "Comcast":

"… ’s three largest telecommunications companies — AT&T, Charter, and Comcast Corp. — tried to convince Republican leaders to relegate the measure to …"

"… spread of municipal broadband networks. For more than a decade, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc., and CenturyLink Inc. have spent millions of dolla …"

"… m not saying we haven’t,” Stephenson said. “I just don’t know.” Comcast, the second-largest campaign contributor among telecommunications companie …"

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 "director":

"… of firearm suicide generally have high gun ownership. Alan Berman, former director of the American Association of Suicidology, said there is a direct correla …"

"… ogress for help to curb suicides. Now, Flatt is amazed the office and its director, Richard Egan, are addressing it. After her 25-year-old son, Paul Tilland …"

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 "Pennsylvania":

"… uns the police confiscate are from out of state, Thomson said, coming from Pennsylvania and Maryland, both of which have more relaxed gun laws than New Jersey. Fr …"

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 "National Nuclear Security Administration":

"… g the need for and cost effectiveness of the project, and that the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which runs Los Alamos and other energy labs, “needs to fully reassess i …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… regional administrator in Dallas, did an on-the-record interview with the Center for Public Integrity about environmental issues associated with oil and gas production. Some ma …"

"… ure article or articles. For more than a year, InsideClimate News and the Center for Public Integrity have been reporting on air pollution caused by the fracking boom in the Ea …"

"… lbourn wrote on July 12, "An interview on this issue isn't possible." The Center for Public Integrity and InsideClimate News have decided to publish all of the emails that accu …"

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 "oil and gas":

"… Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection — which oversees the oil and gas industry — has no ongoing or planned health studies, though it is resear …"

"… and water quality at certain sites, Scott Perry, the agency's director of oil and gas management, said at a media event last month. None of the hundreds of mill …"

"… rch on this. No one's testing what's going on," she said. "I'm not against oil and gas drilling. I'm a Republican … I just think you need to do it safely, and …"

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 "director":

"… hings that we’ve never really had a chance to do,” said Merl Paaverud, director of the State Historical Society. Oil development has transformed this sta …"

"… oil industry is in the Capitol,” said Jim Fuglie, a former state tourism director and former head of the state Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party. “Nothi …"

"… ies themselves. Since retiring five years ago, Fuglie, the former tourism director, has maintained a political blog, and he characterizes state leaders …"

"… ent environmentalists, but he’s hardly a treehugger. He is the executive director of the Dakota Resource Council, a grassroots group of mostly farmers and r …"

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 "medicine":

"… erseeing Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D, which covers prescription medicines. Cantrell cited “limited data availability” and “difficulties with …"

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 "Mary Jo White":

"… al area likely to get all their money back, plus interest. SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White and three other commissioners declined or ignored requests to be interview …"

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 "Michigan":

"… ection still five months away, attack ads have already hit the airwaves in Michigan’s gubernatorial race thanks to two national organizations that are on pa …"

"… ;has been used to flood the airwaves with early ads, including in the Michigan race that pits incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Snyder against presumed Demo …"

"… r his support of the federal stimulus package when he served in Congress. Michigan’s primary is in August. The RGA has also targeted races with ads i …"

"… ne, Pennsylvania and Kansas. So far this cycle, the DGA has put up ads in Michigan and given more than $500,000 to a group active in the open Arkansas gubern …"

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":

"… plans hundreds of millions of dollars to treat seniors in especially poor health. The findings signaled that billing errors could be deeply rooted within …"

"… le who may require expensive care. But the auditors concluded that all six health plans they visited couldn’t justify the money they took in for 40 percen …"

"… $650 million for 2007 alone — just for those six plans. One major Texas health plan was paid to care for a man it said had brain cancer. But his medical …"

"… hat didn’t merit any added payment, auditors wrote.  In Arizona, a health plan collected thousands of dollars from Medicare to treat congestive hear …"

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 "Pennsylvania":

"… al appeals court has withdrawn a three-judge panel’s 2007 dismissal of a Pennsylvania man’s lawsuit against ExxonMobil Corp. after a Center for Public Integri …"

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 "Federal Communications Commission":

"… -priced Internet connections and computers to low-income families. But the Federal Communications Commission, which approved the merger, didn’t set any participation requirements, o …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… ts most recent fiscal year, according to new tax documents reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity. The sources of America Votes’ funding are not clear. “We do not dis …"

"… orted by the billionaire Koch brothers, spent $122 million in 2012, as the Center for Public Integrity previously reported. This year, America Votes aims to raise more than $8. …"

"… n the past, according research by the Center for Responsive Politics and a Center for Public Integrity review of tax filings maintained by CitizenAudit.org. So, too, have founda …"

"… e chairman of the Open Society Foundations, which provides funding for the Center for Public Integrity. For a list of the Center's donors, visit this page on our website.   …"

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 "Pennsylvania":

"… to counsel for truants during court proceedings. In some states, such as Pennsylvania, counsel is automatic and can only be waived after multiple steps to ensur …"

"… waived after multiple steps to ensure children grasp what they are doing. Pennsylvania was rocked by a scandal a couple of years ago when two juvenile court judg …"

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 "John Boehner":

"… politicians such as former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ranked amo …"

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 "Fundraising":

"… f several of the super PACs say their committees’ spending is justified: Fundraising or advocacy work is often done by people whose salaries and consulting fee …"

"… cials did not return calls and emails. A couple of fundraisers, Strategic Fundraising and AB Data, hired by conservative and liberal groups, respectively, were …"

"… s. They were paid more than $4 million combined. A spokesman for Strategic Fundraising said the group specializes in raising money from small donors. As to the …"