Good news on health care in 2014, but we're still spending too much

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: fewer uninsured, but debt, mental health coverage and dental care are on the agenda for 2015.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… level it’s been in years. That’s according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released data last Thursday showing that the percentage …"

"… ions of Americans with their premiums and out-of-pocket spending.   Health care inflation has been tamed—at least for the foreseeable future. The b …"

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

'I Can't Breathe' now a federal super PAC

By Liz Essley Whyte

A New York activist wants to honor Eric Garner, who died in police custody, though a new political committee.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… name of a federal super PAC. The “I Can’t Breathe PAC” received the Federal Election Commission’s stamp of approval this week after New Yorker Tarik Mohamed, a visual c …"

American Future Fund: No election, little cash

By Carrie Levine

American Future Fund's income plummeted in 2013 — a non-election year — after massive haul in 2012.

Excerpts from this story referencing "president":

"… in 2012, when it spent about $20 million overtly advocating for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and against president Barack Obama, to less than …"

FEC gets modest budget boost

By Dave Levinthal

The election watchdog's 2015 funding level reverses years of cuts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… ing boost. Congress' government funding bill, signed Tuesday by President Barack Obama, allots $67.5 million for the agency, which enforces and administers the f …"

Sex, drugs and political money

By The Center for Public Integrity

Center reporter Dave Levinthal goes one-on-one with the Democrats' former finance chief on C-SPAN2 show.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic National Committee":

"… edy, D-Mass., to play video games. And yet, you still go on to become the Democratic National Committee's head of fundraising. These are just a few of the many revelations about …"

New FEC chief on 'dark money' mission

By Dave Levinthal

New Chairwoman Ann Ravel says she'll fight to out people behind secretive political cash, regardless of party.

Excerpts from this story referencing "lawyer":

"… rson. Her target audience: outside-the-Beltway folks who aren’t election lawyers or political practitioners, but are nevertheless concerned about big mone …"

"… le, morale on the agency’s dwindling staff, which has been without a top lawyer since mid-2013, is notoriously low. The FEC ranks among the worst places …"

"… onal Twitter handles. Ravel, who last decade served as the top government lawyer in Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara County, intends to infuse the agency wit …"

Secretive nonprofits flourished — and succeeded — in 2014 state elections

By Reity O'Brien

Nonprofits backed winning candidates, or bashed losers, in 63 percent of the state races in which they sponsored ads.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate":

"… physical therapist and longtime Democratic assemblywoman running for state Senate.  The ads started early, just after Labor Day, and painted her as a …"

"… l levels of government.” Its donors, and its interest in Wisconsin state Senate District 19, are not transparent. Representatives of both groups did not …"

Jeb Bush explores White House bid — unconventionally

By Carrie Levine

Instead of traditional presidential exploratory committee, potential GOP candidate GOP to create a leadership PAC.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… n limits,” said Kenneth Gross, a former associate general counsel of the Federal Election Commission who leads the political law practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & …"

"… uch leadership PACs can raise before Bush is officially a candidate, while Federal Election Commission regulations prohibit exploratory committees from raising “funds in exces …"

'I felt like I was getting pelted with excrement': Readers weigh in on political ads

By Sarah Whitmire

We asked readers if they found political TV ads to be informative, here's some of what they said.

Koch group's income plummeted in non-election year

By Carrie Levine

Nonprofit Center to Protect Patient Rights raised in 2013 a tiny fraction of what it did during 2012, when federal political campaigns raged

Excerpts from this story referencing "Republican Jewish Coalition":

"… American Commitment ($45,000), Americans for Prosperity ($225,000) and the Republican Jewish Coalition ($15,500). In addition, it paid Noble’s firm, DC London, $2.1 million, …"

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 "Politics":

"… organization could face a fine or lose its tax-exempt status as a charity. Politics ‘absolutely prohibited’ The IRS says 501(c)(3) groups are …"

Who's responsible for the CIA's torture policy?

By R. Jeffrey Smith

Who's who in authorizing the CIA's brutal treatment of detainees.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… News Bruce Jessen screengrab from ABC News …"

"… ton believed they were withholding information about future attacks on the United States. As it turned out, some of those who were harshly treated had no such info …"

'Revolving door' spins between AT&T, GSA

By Dave Levinthal

AT&T hires a top GSA official, then and scores a lucrative service contract with the agency.

Excerpts from this story referencing "information technology":

"… fessional services to federal government customers,” oversaw the GSA’s information technology division and its $600 million IT budget as recently as January. Officials …"

A long-term blank check for 'war' spending

By Julia Harte

In the federal budget, emergency spending for combat operations is the new normal.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Defense Department":

"… troops deployed in Afghanistan is shrinking faster than OCO spending. The Defense Department’s budget request for 2015 anticipated that troop levels in Afghanistan w …"

"… guidance quickly and set a deadline for completing the shift. Although the Defense Department promised to provide such guidance by the end of July 2014, it has not yet …"

"… ussed at length throughout the ongoing budget process,” said Bill Urban, Defense Department spokesman, in an emailed comment. He declined to elaborate. New programs&n …"

"… iny Moreover, the OCO budget isn’t a fiscal salve only once a year. The Defense Department comptroller can — and often does — ask the House and Senate committees …"

Koch-linked operative mum on mystery millions

By Michael Beckel

Sean Noble oversaw a seven-figure grant to American Commitment, which says it wasn't the beneficiary. So where did the money go?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Politics":

"… pparent discrepancy, which was first reported by the Center for Responsive Politics, American Commitment President Phil Kerpen said his group didn’t get the …"

Senate report says CIA repeatedly misled policymakers about interrogation program

By R. Jeffrey Smith

Senate report says CIA repeatedly tried to mislead policymakers about interrogation program to escape scrutiny and criticism

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… after he had left. That decision stemmed from what the CIA’s liaison to Congress depicted in an internal email at the time as a desire to “get off the ho …"

"… he disputed that the agency “systematically and intentionally misled” Congress, the executive branch and the public, even though the CIA acknowledged it …"

Mary Landrieu abandoned on airwaves

By Dave Levinthal

Republicans bombard Democratic senator ahead of U.S. Senate runoff vote.

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

"… -La., is facing what's perhaps the end of her political career alone. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, super PACs and nonprofit groups, which together supported Landrieu's gene …"

GOP shelves FEC complaint against Van Hollen

By Dave Levinthal

Republicans had threatened a federal complaint against the Democratic congressman, but don't appear to be following through.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… y unnamed GOP group that had considered filing a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Van Hollen — but it never did. The NRCC, which has panned Van H …"

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 "Pat McCrory":

"… hat 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 August, Carolina R …"

Pro-McConnell nonprofit hit with IRS complaint

By Michael Beckel

A watchdog organization wants the IRS to investigate a nonprofit that spent millions backing Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… ts website. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, certain types of donor-shielding nonprofit corporations have been …"

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 "federal government":

"… he East Coast — drilling that has been off-limits for decades. While the federal government ultimately controls where offshore drilling is allowed, the Obama administ …"

"… — Texas, Alaska, Virginia, Mississippi and Louisiana — who decried the federal government for standing in the way of development. It was there that the governors o …"

"… ition, with a stated goal of improving dialogue between the states and the federal government. The coalition’s first chairman was Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who as …"

"… rictions where drilling is underway. The coalition has also pushed for the federal government to share more drilling revenue with the states. The Center requested docu …"

Conservative group fumbles disclosure in new tax document

By Michael Beckel

Koch-linked nonprofit American Commitment to amend tax documents after questions from the Center for Public Integrity.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Politics":

"… difficult," said Robert Maguire, a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics, which monitors money in Politics. "When organizations aren't careful how …"

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. …"

PR firm busts disclosure deadline while representing Burkina Faso

By Carrie Levine

CD Global Strategies took months — instead of 10 days — to inform the Justice Department of its work for Burkina Faso.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pentagon":

"… the capital of Burkina Faso, is home to a strategically important base for Pentagon surveillance missions. The country, long viewed as stable, has recently be …"

Crossroads GPS' cash plummeted in 2013

By Carrie Levine

Conservative nonprofit's income drop coincided with a non-election year.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Politics":

"… 76.4 million on the 2012 elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Roughly $70 million of that was spent by Crossroads GPS. The groups’ mo …"

Grover Norquist nonprofit funded pro-Republican women’s group

By Michael Beckel

Conservative-leaning Independent Women's Voice got 13 percent of its revenue last year from Americans for Tax Reform, new documents show.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitt Romney":

"… f dollars backing Republican politicians such as 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Chris McDaniel, who unsuccessfully challe …"

Congress' never-ending political money chase

By Dave Levinthal

Congressional lawmakers are hard at work raising campaign cash in D.C. as lame duck session begins.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… Day 2016 is 721 days away: Lawmakers (and soon-to-be lawmakers) are using Congress' lame duck session to generate cash wherever they can get it. Some are be …"

"… tober.   Rep.-elect Bob Dold, R-Ill., this month won back a seat in Congress he lost in 2013. On Wednesday evening, he will host a reception at the Cit …"

"… ublican Martha McSally that ended with her less than 200 votes up on him. "Congressman Barber is committed to ensuring that every lawful vote is counted and t …"

"… D.C.-based lobbyist. "As it will be weeks before this process is complete, Congressman Barber's campaign will need additional resources to cover costly legal …"

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 "Health":

"… ch Massachusetts lawmakers enacted in 2006. During remarks he made at the Health Economists Conference at the University of Pennsylvania last year, Gruber …"

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Slow start to Landrieu's runoff campaign

By Dave Levinthal

Louisiana's incumbent U.S. senator goes dark as runoff opponent Bill Cassidy airs hundreds of post-Election Day TV ads

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

"… re nowhere to be found on Louisiana's airwaves after Election Day. And the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reportedly canceled its scheduled ad buys buoying Landrieu. Cassidy's cam …"

Nuclear weapons lab used taxpayer funds to obtain more taxpayer funds

By R. Jeffrey Smith

A government auditor uncovers a textbook case of lobbying by a contractor at federal expense.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Department of Energy":

"… ontinue to do so. Lockheed Martin will cooperate fully with Sandia and the Department of Energy as needed." Sandia spokeswoman Heather Clark said that while the labs are …"

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