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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… o circumvent limits on campaign contributions to candidates and parties, a Center for Public Integrity analysis has found. In addition to the money it spent directly on TV ads …"

"… illion and ranked second among the sugar daddies of 2014, according to the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis. The group only picked up one new governor’s mansion, with …"

"… million to the people and groups pushing candidates for state office, the Center for Public Integrity found. The list is thick with billionaires such as former New York City Ma …"

"… .” The Citizens United effect To identify the kingmakers, the Center for Public Integrity looked at donations given to 2014 state candidates and political parties d …"

Health insurers win midterm election!

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: midterm results create a friendlier Congress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Insurance":

"… erstand that isn’t likely to happen. And they really don’t want it to. Insurance firms and their shareholders actually love the billions of dollars in new …"

"… ay to the bank. Wendell Potter is the author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and …"

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 "Kentucky":

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

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 "Kay Hagan":

"… he U.S. Senate. North Carolina’s race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis, her Republican rival, drew more ads last week than any ot …"

Ex-senators Breaux and Lott confirm lobbying for Russian bank on Ukraine sanctions

By Alexander Cohen

A new filing says two former senators were part of a team that earned $150,000 for roughly a month of work.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate":

"… e crisis, according to a new disclosure their firm has filed with the U.S. Senate. The former senators and their colleagues at Squire Patton Boggs in Washi …"

"… a banking subsidiary of the Russian oil giant Gazprombank and lobbied the Senate and the Department of State on the sanctions and other banking laws, accor …"

Bloomberg helps Democratic governors' group close gap on Republicans

By Ben Wieder

The Republican Governors Association is outpacing its Democratic counterpart but Democrats are catching up.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… rialist Koch, casino magnate Adelson and the private equity firm of 5-Hour Energy founder Manoj Bhargava each contributed $2.5 million through the end of Se …"

"… om the Shannons and $1.5 million from Griffin. Two Energy companies, Devon Energy, at $900,000, and Duke Energy, at $775,000, are among the Republican group …"

"… on from Griffin. Two Energy companies, Devon Energy, at $900,000, and Duke Energy, at $775,000, are among the Republican group’s top 10 donors overall. T …"

McAuliffe names panel to reform Virginia’s ethics laws

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Governor cites Center’s State Integrity Investigation in announcing new initiative.

Excerpts from this story referencing "lobbyist":

"… e Center identified as particular problems, including political financing, lobbyist disclosure and ethics enforcement agencies. Earlier this month, McDonnell …"

"… ssed its own reforms, which included a $250 cap on gifts to lawmakers from lobbyists or people seeking business before the state. The measure was widely …"

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 …"

Democrats embrace 'McCutcheon' decision

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Ahead of high-stakes battle for the Senate, Democrats create massive fundraising group blessed by contentious 'McCutcheon' decision.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Louisiana":

"… That website argues that Democrats in key states like Arkansas, Iowa and Louisiana are being outspent on the TV airwaves by “the Kochs and their friends, …"

"… ommittees in battleground states: Democratic State Central Committee of Louisiana Iowa Democratic Party Democratic Party of Arkansas Colorado Democratic …"

"… nken of Minnesota Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas Sen. Jeanne Sha …"

Message-maven culture killing compromise in Washington

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Political foes prefer to score points rather than work together on solutions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate":

"… ublican Winfield Dunn was governor and Democrats controlled both the state Senate and House of Representatives. Dunn, and later Republican Gov. and now Sen. …"

"… p O’Neill was House Speaker and Republican Howard Baker of Tennessee was Senate Minority Leader. Baker, who died last month, was a true moderate and a mas …"

"… overned Tennessee in a bipartisan fashion and who was first elected to the Senate as a moderate in 2002. Because he is facing a primary challenge from the …"

Most senators wait to take e-filing leap

By Michael Beckel

Only a slice of the Senate has opted to e-file campaign finance documents as members debate mandating the practice.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… ir political dollars, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of Federal Election Commission filings. Only 21 senators — a bipartisan group that ranges from Sen. Th …"

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 "Mitt Romney":

"… ent Barack Obama and his campaign’s early focus on attacking GOP nominee Mitt Romney.  “People looked at the Obama 2012 campaign and thought that early …"

Tobacco money fuels gay Republicans, business organizations

By Michael Beckel

Reynolds American gave thousands of dollars to politically active nonprofits such as the Log Cabin Republicans, Americans for Prosperity.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Kay Hagan":

"… o assail vulnerable Democrats, including North Carolina’s incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, who is seeking re-election to a second term this November.   &n …"

Senate power players quarrel over fate of e-filing

By Michael Beckel

A growing number of senators voluntarily e-file their campaign finance reports. But will the practice ever be mandated?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitch McConnell":

"… ry Reid, D-Nev., who signed on earlier this month. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., however, has “objected to passing the bill by unanimous consent, …"

Billionaires boost Republican governors group past Democrats in fundraising

By Ben Wieder

GOP governors' group outraises counterpart, but Democrats still expected to win a few races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "South Carolina":

"… esponse to the scandal, he wouldn’t be the first governor to do so. Then-South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford abdicated the position after revelations that he had sec …"

GOP governors group dwarfs Democrats in fundraising

By Ben Wieder and John Dunbar

This year features 36 governors' races; Republicans enter with a big fundraising advantage over Democrats.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Connecticut":

"… nors included hedge fund billionaire environmentalists Paul Tudor Jones of Connecticut and Thomas Steyer of California, who each gave $250,000. The DGA’s fili …"

Do senators fear the Internet?

By Rachel Baye

Nearly one-fifth of upper chamber members say they support e-filing campaign finance reports — but won't be this week.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Iowa":

"… ts due this Friday only in hard copy. Among them: Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; and Mark Udall, D-Colo. “Sen. Grassley is not comfo …"

Senate Democrats' January of doom

By Dave Levinthal

DSCC drenches supporters in negativity to wring cash from them.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee":

"… 2014 midterms. But since late December, in a bid to raise big bucks, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has shown little such confidence, expressing itself with equal parts hyste …"

Fighting the 'spin' war over Obamacare

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: GOP topping Dems with message discipline.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Chicago":

"… gencies in Washington and in airport hotel conference rooms in cities like Chicago and Dallas — I can almost assure you that some of my former colleagues a …"

Koch-backed nonprofit spent record cash in 2012

By Michael Beckel

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative nonprofit, spent $122 million last year — exponentially more than it ever has.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… The only time these "social welfare" groups must identify a funder to the Federal Election Commission is when that donor contributes for the specific purpose of “furthering …"

Methodology

By Ben Wieder

'Puppet states' project required collection of data from 38 states, plus extensive analysis.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Republican Governors Association":

"… rom out-of-state donors and whether national political groups, such as the Republican Governors Association or Democratic Governors Association, were among the donors. Groups were c …"

Was the glut of outside spending in 2012 state races just the start?

By Bill Buzenberg

You can expect more money — and ads — pouring into state races next year based on new Center analysis of 2012 election.

'Citizens United' ruling helped unions win state elections

By Alan Suderman and Ben Wieder

National unions, business groups focused on states in 2012 elections with unions gaining the edge, new analysis shows.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… ated nonprofits that report to the IRS, but are largely unregulated by the Federal Election Commission. They were able to accept unlimited donations from individuals, unions and …"

West Virginia races primed for super PAC activity

By Michael Beckel

'West Virginians for Results' registered by D.C. attorney with strong ties to Republicans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitt Romney":

"… how that he personally donated $1,500 to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2011, $50 to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina during her 2 …"

'America Votes' spent nearly $1 million on Wisconsin recall

By Adam Wollner

Progressive nonprofit, fueled by unions, targeted Wisconsin recall elections in 2011 and 2012.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Scott Walker":

"… combined $940,000 to four organizations that tried to boot Republican Gov. Scott Walker and several other GOP lawmakers out of office. America Votes, which aims …"

OPINION: an outbreak of bipartisanship

By Wendell Potter

Republicans, Democrats work together to expand Medicaid.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Jan Brewer":

"… hursday when lawmakers in conservative Arizona passed and sent to GOP Gov. Jan Brewer a Medicaid expansion bill she had endorsed. It would not have passed had s …"

IRS scandal sparks fundraising blitz

By Dave Levinthal

Numerous candidates, committees fundraising off agency's targeting of conservative groups.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tea Party movement":

"… overnment, it is now." He further noted that "the very message of the Tea Party movement has been validated" because of the IRS situation. Then Rubio's pitch …"

Retiring senators sitting on $10.5 million

By Michael Beckel

Eight retiring senators are collectively sitting on $10.5 million.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Internal Revenue Service":

"… ures, including $3,000 for "website consulting" fees and about $580 to the Internal Revenue Service for federal income taxes. Levin also reported refunding a $10,000 contrib …"

How governors' associations keep donations secret

By Paul Abowd

Political groups led by state executives increasingly raising undisclosed cash through nonprofits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic Governors Association":

"… Thursday, the Washington, D.C.-based Republican Governors Association and Democratic Governors Association together have poured tens of millions of dollars of secret money into nonp …"

Democrats seeking money for Massachusetts' special Senate election

By Michael Beckel

DSCC solicits funds ahead of Massachusetts special election.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic Party":

"… hand and debts totaling $9.5 million, FEC records show.     …"

Pages