Lobbying activity declines among top special interests

By Dave Levinthal

Three-fifths of nation's top 100 lobbying entities spent less on influence in the second quarter compared to a year ago.

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

"… ntegrity of analysis of new congressional disclosure reports and Center for Responsive Politics data. Spending by several others remained stagnant. Unlike last year …"

Federal complaint challenges Texas town's new ban on housing any border kids

By Susan Ferriss

Civil rights groups are challenging ordinances that prohibit cooperation with federal officials if they ask to shelter kids in towns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "League City":

"… es in at the border. The complaint against an ordinance adopted July 8 by League City, a Houston suburb, was filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Edu …"

"… of 1964. “There is particularly ugly language about Muslims in this League City ordinance also,” said Maddie Sloan, an Appleseed attorney. The number o …"

"… ng at home.” Marisa Bono, a MALDEF attorney, said the complaint against League City “is a warning to other municipalities that are considering similar resol …"

"… e and halt ordinances aimed at “vulnerable children.”   The League City ordinance, approved in a 6-2 vote, lists a number of allegations that elec …"

Lawmakers issue dueling Dodd-Frank reports

By Jared Bennett

Republicans say the financial reform law creates a bailout fund. Democrats says the 4-year-old law makes banks safer.

Excerpts from this story referencing "George W. Bush":

"… ts.” During the 2008 financial crisis, the Republican administration of George W. Bush, with the blessing of a Democratic Congress, created a $700 billion fund t …"

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 "natural gas":

"… But because there are no comprehensive studies about the health impacts of natural gas drilling, it's hard to determine if their problems are linked to the gas w …"

"… cience to help people deal with their ailments. "As far as unconventional natural gas drilling goes, we are the public health service of the United States right …"

"… s of shale gas development. provide tips on how to reduce exposure to natural gas activities, perhaps by using indoor air filters or keeping daily logs of s …"

Energy influence in North Dakota is expanding — so what?

By Nicholas Kusnetz and Jared Bennett

A Q & A with reporter Nicholas Kusnetz about the oil and gas industries growing influence in North Dakota.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… ome national Environmental organizations are starting to get involved, the Environmental Defense Fund hired a local lobbyist who I actually interviewed because h …"

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 "natural gas":

"… with virtual impunity. Drillers wastefully burn off nearly a third of the natural gas that’s produced with the oil without paying royalties or taxes because t …"

"… ecently announced a set of rules to limit flaring, the practice of burning natural gas at the well site. The rules should start reducing the amount of gas drille …"

"… ing megalopolis glowing in western North Dakota. The lights were flares of natural gas, many of which burn for months or years. The fossil-fuel rich rock formati …"

Four years after passage, House keeps trying to kill Dodd-Frank

By Jared Bennett

On the fourth anniversary of the passage of landmark financial reform law, opponents still trying to kill it.

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

"… ted almost $248 million to political campaigns, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, more than any industry. While most of these proposals probably don’t h …"

Trains, amputations and the roots of why kids are on the run

By Susan Ferriss

Reports have long warned of chaos in Central America many minors say they want to escape.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. government":

"… nd other crimes. To accord them political asylum would have undermined the U.S. government's policies.” The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees produced …"

Chattanooga wants feds to pre-empt broadband ban

By Allan Holmes

Tennessee city seeks to expand municipal broadband service, pre-empting industry-backed state ban.

Excerpts from this story referencing "director":

"… nt to limit Chattanooga's network expansion,” said Christopher Mitchell, director of Community Broadband Networks at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, …"

Class-action suit: Wrong to put kids into immigration court with no lawyers to help

By Susan Ferriss

Kids whose dad was killed by gangsters are among the plaintiffs in a suit arguing that children should have lawyers in immigration court.

Excerpts from this story referencing "El Salvador":

"… angsters who objected to the father’s anti-gang rehabilitation center in El Salvador, according to the suit. Typically, “in court, the Department of Homelan …"

Feds seek new authority to recoup Medicare Advantage overcharges

By Fred Schulte

Impact: Feds act to recoup overcharges following Center investigation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… luating the proposal,” said Clare Krusing, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group. Congress created Medicare A …"

"… s were presented at a conference of the American Society of Health Economists in Los Angeles on June 25. “Our study is the first that can …"

"… late May, the Center for Public Integrity sued the Department of Health and Human Services to make its audits and other records public. The case i …"

Will migrant kids lose access to child-welfare and legal specialists in rush to deport?

By Susan Ferriss

Child advocates are worried possible legal changes could cut off migrant kids' access to social workers, asylum lawyers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Virginia":

"… imes before they took him into custody and transferred him to a shelter in Virginia, where he happened to meet Podkul and was interviewed by asylum officials …"

Kochs put a happy face on free enterprise

By Chris Young

Initiative spearheaded by billionaire brothers paints positive portrait of free-market system.

Excerpts from this story referencing "president":

"… large block letters that spelled “H-A-P-P-I-N-E-S-S,” the charismatic president of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, explained …"

"… ember advisory board of the Well-Being Initiative includes Ángel Cabrera, president of George Mason University and Tyler Cowen, a popular libertarian professo …"

"… of public affairs at the University of Texas-Austin, and Chris Rufer, the president and founder of the Morning Star Company. A former fellow at the American …"

"… the American Enterprise Institute, Inboden was previously the senior vice president of the London-based Legatum Institute, which publishes the “Prosper …"

Lobbyists boost Senate Democrats

By Michael Beckel

Democrats have outraised their GOP counterparts in terms of money coming from lobbyists doubling as fundraisers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic Party":

"… way by lobbyists. Lobbyist Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group ranked as the Democratic Party’s top fundraising ally on K Street, records show, bundling about $550,00 …"

How lobbyists helped build John Cornyn’s election war chest

By Michael Beckel

Lobbyists’ role in Senate GOP whip's campaign helped him avoid, in his own words, a “fair fight.”

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… d. “That’s human nature.”    …"

"… rding to the analysis. Cornyn ultimately bulldozed Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, and several lesser-known challengers in a March 4 intra-party battle. Bu …"

"… t initially guaranteed. A June 2013 poll sponsored by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune, for example, found that only 54 percent of Republicans …"

"… lly guaranteed. A June 2013 poll sponsored by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune, for example, found that only 54 percent of Republicans viewed Cor …"

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 "South Carolina":

"… also targeted races with ads in Arkansas, Georgia, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina and Wisconsin. Separately the D.C.-based group has given $2.5 million dir …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Department of Justice":

"… similar future reviews as part of a budget cut. Robert Trusiak, a former Department of Justice prosecutor, said that “at the very least” federal officials should hav …"

States urged to embrace alternatives to school discipline criminalizing kids

By Susan Ferriss

The Council of State Governments warns that harsh school dicipline disproportionately harms ethnic minority, disabled and LBGT students.

Excerpts from this story referencing "director":

"… cent reduction in expulsions at last count, according to Michael Thompson, director of the Council of State Governments Justice Center, which produced the rep …"

State Senate leader reacts to Center report, urging counsel for truants

By Susan Ferriss

A majority state Senate leader in Tennessee says he is troubled by a Center report on accused truants prosecuted, jailed with no lawyers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "state senator":

"… 010 out of $37 million overall for indigent defense. …"

Texas fracking verdict puts industry on notice about toxic air emissions

By David Hasemyer

A nearly $3 million jury verdict against a Texas oil and gas company highlights regulatory failures and health risks linked to fracking.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Judge":

"… and policy makers may be sorting through them for years. Aruba has asked Judge Mark Greenberg, who presided over the Parrs’ case, to reverse the jury …"

Nearly $100 million in campaign cash sits idle

By Dave Levinthal

What happens to campaign money of former congressional candidates? It often sits in accounts for years.

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

"… for Public Integrity analysis of federal campaign finance disclosures and Center for Responsive Politics data indicates. Dozens of other former members and congressional also-ran …"

Foul air in heavily fracked Texas county has couple looking for a way out

By Lisa Song

After 23 years in once-placid Karnes County, Texas, Lynn and Shelby Buehring say they're moving to escape toxic fumes from a fracking boom.

Excerpts from this story referencing "San Antonio":

"… re continuing their search for a new home. Lynn hopes to find a house near San Antonio so she has easy access to her doctors. "Big Oil, Bad Air" is a joint proj …"

Oil giant Citgo gets off easy in criminal case

By Priscila Mosqueda

Residents of Corpus Christi, Texas, who say they were sickened by emissions from the Citgo refinery decry a judge's denial of restitution.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Judge":

"… before the Judge in the case finally sentenced the company. U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey fined Citgo a little more than $2 million — a penalty pro …"

"… xic chemicals is harmful to human health. Following that line of thought, Judge Rainey initially denied 20 victims’ request to be granted restitution un …"

Groups seek EPA action on toxic air emissions from fracking

By Jim Morris

Sixty-four environmental and community groups on Tuesday petitioned the EPA to clamp down on toxic air emissions from fracking operations.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… egulation, 64 Environmental and community groups on Tuesday petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to clamp down on toxic air emissions from oil and gas …"

Polis adds to campaign stash, bitcoin by bitcoin

By Dave Levinthal

Colorado Democrat Jared Polis is already benefiting from new campaign finance changes.

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

"… ng the 1990s and 2000s. He ranks among Congress' richest members, with the Center for Responsive Politics estimating that his wealth in 2012 potentially reached $330 million. And …"

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 "Judge":

"… rospect of being in court. She agreed to plead guilty to truancy. But when Judge Tim Irwin announced what he planned to do with her, the girl known as …"

"… ehind-the-scenes disagreement over providing access to counsel continues. Judge Irwin, the county’s elected and sole juvenile court Judge, has refused t …"

"… n, the University of Tennessee law professor, in a December 2012 letter to Judge Irwin. Irwin did not respond to Rivkin’s plea, and has also declined to …"

"… presenting them. Setbacks In 2011, in his rejection of Rivkin’s appeal, Judge Irwin upheld his own convictions. In a written order, he said that the fou …"

U.S. Chamber targets Dems in state attorney general races

By Ben Wieder

Why are powerful business interests underwriting ads in AG races in the states?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Republican Attorneys General Association":

"… aces than any other type of election. That may be due to the fact that the Republican Attorneys General Association was part of the RSLC until they split this year. With the shift, the RSLC …"

Gordon Witkin named Center's top editor

Former U.S. News & World Report editor takes over as executive editor.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Columbia Journalism School":

"… Bar Association, the National Press Club, Sigma Delta Chi, Scripps Howard, Columbia Journalism School and the University of Maryland College of Journalism. Dunbar was formerly …"

Donors, friends of governors often get state supreme court nod

By Rachel Baye

Judicial elections are often criticized for corrupting influence, but appointment process has problems too.

Excerpts from this story referencing "South Carolina":

"… reject the list of nominees and ask for more. In two states, Virginia and South Carolina, the legislature appoints judges to the state supreme courts. In the othe …"

Meet the Banking Caucus, Wall Street's secret weapon in Washington

By Daniel Wagner and Alison Fitzgerald

Industry campaign cash flows to pro-bank activists in Congress, yielding big returns.

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

"… andidates, more than any other industry, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s more than two-and-a-half times the $57 million donated by the he …"

"… 012, members raised an average of $2.6 million, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, edging out the powerful Ways and Means Committee. “Members are encoura …"

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