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 "Mike Rounds":

"… outfit Mayday PAC have deemed the race in play. Republican Mike Rounds, Democrat Rick Weiland, Democrat and independent Larry Pressler are all&nb …"

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 "Pollution":

"… ity. They formed a grassroots opposition group called Concerned About Pollution, or CAP, and held their first meeting under the gazebo in Nordheim’s Jub …"

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 "Virginia":

"… ional Center for armed robbery. He’s doing his time at a medium-security Virginia state prison located 137 miles northwest of Johnson City, across the dips …"

"… e prison, for a total cost of less than $2. But in March of last year, the Virginia Department of Corrections informed her that JPay Inc., a private comp …"

"… less the person sending money fails to fill out the form properly. He said Virginia is especially efficient and processes money orders within 24 to 48 hours. …"

"… to make an extra dollar everywhere we can,” Shapiro said. Before JPay, Virginia prisons credited money orders to inmates’ accounts in roughly three days …"

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 "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission":

"… received significant attention since 2010, when the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision granted them powerful spending freedoms. Corporations may n …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… lung. These schemes were exposed last year in a major investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, partnering in part with ABC News. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Ro …"

"… before administrative law judges. Chris Hamby, 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 "Mark Pryor":

"… Benton County Democratic Party in Arkansas, agrees. There, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor is locked in a close race with Cotton, his Republican challenger. “You …"

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 "Oregon":

"… ure, several cities have had financial difficulties. They include Ashland, Oregon; Burlington, Vermont; and the 11-city Utah Telecommunications Open Infrast …"

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 "Suicidology":

"… been loosely studied for the past 20 years by the American Association of Suicidology, a research and education organization based in Washington, D.C., that was …"

"… un ownership. Alan Berman, former director of the American Association of Suicidology, said there is a direct correlation between gun ownership and death by sui …"

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 "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives":

"… Kildee introduced an amendment that would add $15 million to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives budget to fund partnerships of local and federal organizations to “go af …"

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 "Bush administration":

"… ;While most of the expansion of the nation’s biolabs occurred during the Bush administration, the Obama White House has defended the trend. According to the 2013 …"

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 "North Dakota":

"… xtend far beyond Texas. Similar problems exist in the Bakken Shale of North Dakota, the Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming and the Marcellus Shale of Pe …"

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 "Pennsylvania":

"… ions transformed by the shale energy boom, residents of Washington County, Pennsylvania, have complained of headaches, nosebleeds and skin rashes. But because the …"

"… on facilities that have sprung up around them. A group of scientists from Pennsylvania and neighboring states has stepped in to fill this gap by forming a nonpro …"

"… iting years or even decades for long-term studies to emerge, the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project (SWPA-EHP) is using the best available scienc …"

"… h to study, analyze and mitigate the risks people face from drilling. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection — which oversees the oil and gas …"

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 "Oregon":

"… icy is $500 to Ryan Taylor’s campaign from an Eileen Brady, of Portland, Oregon, who could not be reached for this article. Fuglie, the retired Democratic …"

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 "Pennsylvania":

"… e with little authority. “The change has been minuscule,” said former Pennsylvania congressman Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., who was an author of the credit rating …"

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 "judge":

"… ed for comment.    …"

"… enter for Public Integrity investigation found that the wife of one of the judges owned up to $100,000 worth of stock in the oil company at the time of the …"

"… new panel hear his case because Reavley was “not impartial.” By law, judges cannot own even a single share of stock in companies that come before the …"

"… hem. Nor can their spouses or dependent children. Tilli learned about the judge’s conflict of interest after it was brought to the 5th Circuit’s atten …"

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 "president":

"… ion cycle, the center reported. David Cohen is Comcast’s executive vice president. He was the force behind the creation of Internet Essentials and is in cha …"

"… s. Unpaid bills were the issue in Chattanooga, Tenn., said Dwight Hunter, president of the PTA in Hamilton County, which includes the city. When Internet Ess …"

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 "president":

"… video posted to YouTube last year. (In November, Speed became the group's president.) "When EMILY's List spends one dollar in New Hampshire, it means that AF …"

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 "special counsel":

"… e it difficult for him to sit among large groups. John Gill, the D.A.’s special counsel, said that office has been working more diligently with educators and soci …"

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 "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 …"

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 "lobbyist":

"… the industry pressed Christie to veto the bill. David Satz, Caesars’ top lobbyist, was a member of Christie’s transition team in 2009 and helped write&nbs …"

"… gs on the issue. The Rational Group, the firm that owns PokerStars, hired lobbyists in at least six states last year, including New York, where the company …"

"… n at least six states last year, including New York, where the company’s lobbyist met with an adviser to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November, according to a repor …"

"… s of thousands of dollars to Pennsylvania candidates last year, though the lobbyists represent many other clients as well. Pennsylvania lawmakers say that bec …"

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 "Labor":

"… end result of our investigation is a fact. We know this because the U.S. Labor Department said so specifically, which is unusual for a government agency. …"

"… ual for a government agency. In the first line of an official Solicitor of Labor memo, the Center for Public Integrity’s published articles are cited as …"

"… lic Integrity’s published articles are cited as the reason  for the Labor Department’s review of the black lung compensation program, and for the …"

"… ese reform initiatives, effective immediately, represent an attempt by the Labor Department to create a more level playing field for coal miners navigating …"

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 "Pollution":

"… ften respond within 24 hours, according to a spokesman for the state's Air Pollution Control Division. (The TCEQ refused to make any of its experts available f …"

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 "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission":

"… Hillary can trace its origins to the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010, which helped paved the way for political action committe …"

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 "lobbyist":

"… paneled room 226 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building included lawmakers, lobbyists, company executives, and a few mystery guests — a roster that reflected …"

"… and T-Mobile USA Inc. were out in force, as were some of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, D.C.  Along with those household names was the little …"

"… Thurber said.  “Lobbying isn’t just what the federal registered lobbyists do. It’s an orchestration of a variety of techniques and influence.” …"

"… izon. Sprint spent even less, $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 …"

Tough new fracking rules in Colorado drawing keen attention in Texas, where boom rages on

By Zahra Hirji, Lisa Song and Jim Morris

Air pollution rules adopted last month in Colorado may have an impact on oil and gas drilling in Texas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pennsylvania":

"… ave of issues for oil and gas,” Baizel said. Lawmakers in California and Pennsylvania are already considering adopting similar methane rules, he said, and in Te …"

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