Romney's top fundraisers consider bailing

By Carrie Levine

As the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee considers another bid, Jeb Bush and other 2016 hopefuls try to poach top fundraisers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… Yankees, supported Romney is 2012 but is currently uncommitted. Texas developer Harlan Crow, a major donor in 2012 to Restore Our Futu …"

"… yone out’ Gaylord T. Hughey Jr., a prominent campaign cash bundler from Texas, said he has heard from and met with “several” potential presidential …"

"… ,000 for Romney’s 2012 campaign. He also raised money for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another possible 2016 presidential candidate, when Perry …"

"… 2004 campaign. Hughey has also contributed to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who is also reportedly eyeing a presidential run. Asked about the number …"

States continue war over Obamacare

By Fred Schulte

State lawmakers at odds over hundreds of bills to either cripple or prop up Affordable Care Act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Politics":

"… Barber, managing director of the National Institute on Money in State Politics in Helena, Montana, said “we know it (Obamacare) is “being debate …"

Who needs lobbyists? See what big business spends to win American minds

By Erin Quinn and Chris Young

Trade groups pay top PR, advertising firms $1.2 billion over five years to influence public.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Insurance":

"… tor was led by the National Association of Realtors and America’s Health Insurance Plans. The Most Organization, based in Orange County, California, earned …"

"… co in 2012 after serving as executive vice president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group that represents health insurers. On behalf of AHIP, …"

"… y from 2008 through 2012, almost all of which came from America’s Health Insurance Plans. It’s unclear what exactly the agency did on the Insurance group …"

There are 153 presidential candidates running

By Dave Levinthal

Amid the 'undecided' Romneys and Bushes, a gaggle of unknowns has formally filed paperwork to run for president.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Scott Walker":

"… ospects, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis.  But, according to Federal Election Commission records, …"

Groups sue to force EPA's hand on oil and gas emissions

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

Nine groups sue to force the EPA to decide whether emissions from oil and gas extraction should be publicly reported.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… a key federal inventory, but not the companies that extract oil and gas. Environmental and open-government groups petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection …"

"… oil and gas. Environmental and open-government groups petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency two years ago to add the industry to its Toxics Releas …"

"… group not to report,” said the suit’s lead attorney, Adam Kron of the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit group that presses for enforcement of pol …"

"… wrote the coalition’s then-president, Kathryn Z. Klaber. Last year the Environmental Integrity Project released an analysis suggesting that the larger sites, …"

One-stop science shop has become a favorite of industry—and Texas

By Rosalind Adams and Lisa Song

The EPA's sluggishness in assessing chemicals has created opportunities for a consulting firm with ties to chemical and tobacco interests.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Internal Revenue Service":

"… re a separate filing, said attorney Marcus Owens, a former director of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt division.  But that means "it's virtually impossible t …"

Texas weakens chemical exposure guidelines, opens door for polluters

By Lisa Song and Rosalind Adams

Amid a fracking boom, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has quietly weakened air pollution guidelines for toxic chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "lobbyist":

"… l amounts of benzene can cause leukemia. The American Petroleum Institute, lobbyist for some of the nation’s largest benzene producers, privately acknowledg …"

Citing health risks, New York State bans fracking

By Talia Buford

"The potential risks are too great," says the state's acting health commissioner. "In fact, they are not fully known."

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… nd gas infrastructure could pose health risks. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will issue a legally binding statement to ban frackin …"

"… inding statement to ban fracking early in 2015, the Journal News reported. Environmentalists praised the New York ban while many in the industry decried it as ir …"

Advisory panel tells Congress the nuclear weapons complex is too big and too old

By Douglas Birch

A congressional advisory panel says the nuclear weapons complex can be scaled down and modernized with less regulation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate":

"… anelists were selected by the chairmen and ranking minority members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, and by the Senate and House leadershi …"

"… rity members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, and by the Senate and House leadership. The panel’s co-chairman Norman Augustine is the fo …"

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 …"

Health worries pervade North Texas fracking zone

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

Some residents of the heavily fracked Barnett Shale in North Texas blame their health problems on toxic oil and gas emissions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "natural gas":

"… irthplace of modern hydraulic fracturing. And they all believe exposure to natural gas development triggered their health problems. “I’ve been trying to sel …"

"… r Texas as a whole, it’s a bonanza. The state collected $5.8 billion in natural gas and oil production taxes last fiscal year, triple the amount in 2003, earl …"

"… . He wrote in an email that “we can confidently say that emissions from natural gas operations in the area haven’t significantly affected ambient levels of …"

"… e’s the difficulty posed by so-called chemical soups. Air sampling near natural gas sites typically detects multiple substances. A grab bag of nasties showed …"

Smoke, odors and drifting foam in Fort Worth suburb stir frustration over fracking

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

Some residents of the Fort Worth suburb of Mansfield are arguing for stricter local regulation of hydraulically fractured wells.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mansfield":

"… re protective of people,” said Tamera Bounds, a 33-year resident of Mansfield who’s active in the regulation push. Her city sits atop the Ba …"

"… nett, leaving it up to towns and cities to decide if that’s sufficient. Mansfield has a 600-foot buffer between well sites and residential property lines, t …"

"… les in the cities of Fort Worth and Arlington to the north. Bounds’ Mansfield Gas Well Awareness group wants to take a cue from two other Barnett c …"

"… rols on existing wells less than 1,500 feet from sites such as homes. The Mansfield City Council held a work session last week to hear those residents’ conc …"

Plant expansions fueled by shale gas boom to boost greenhouse gas, toxic air emissions

By Talia Buford

At least 120 planned plant expansions driven by the fracking boom collectively could release 130 million tons per year of greenhouse gases.

Excerpts from this story referencing "natural gas":

"… p;a research and advocacy organization. Motivated by an abundance of cheap natural gas unleashed by hydraulic fracturing – fracking — companies like ExxonMob …"

"… nd the former head of civil enforcement for the EPA. “People talk about natural gas as being better for the climate, but hydraulic fracturing has also sparked …"

"… mpanies have received final approval to build three chemical plants, three natural gas plants and one refinery in Calcasieu Parish since 2013, according to EIP d …"

"… is Administration that cutting carbon pollution is a top priority and that natural gas is a bridge fuel that will help us achieve this goal,” the White House s …"

Fired: Texas regulators say they tried to enforce rules, lost jobs

By David Hasemyer

Two former inspectors with the Texas Railroad Commission say they were fired for being too strict with the oil and gas industry.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Morris Kocurek":

"… oil and gas inspectors for the Texas Railroad Commission, Fred Wright and Morris Kocurek earned merit raises, promotions and praise from their supervisors. They w …"

"… Landing a job as an inspector with the Railroad Commission was something Morris Kocurek had wanted since he graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degr …"

"… st I could.” Kocurek apparently flourished in his first year. “Edwin Morris Kocurek is a hard-working and loyal employee,” said his first evaluation, o …"

Benzene and worker cancers: 'An American tragedy'

By Kristen Lombardi

Previously secret documents illuminate a 10-year effort by petrochemical titans to counteract damning science on the carcinogen benzene.

Excerpts from this story referencing "ExxonMobil":

"… st names in petrochemicals — British Petroleum, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell Chemical — and administered by the powerful API lobby, the Sha …"

"… dship,” stressing that “the study was wholly independent of Shell.” ExxonMobil, whose scientists participated in the Shanghai study, said in a written st …"

"… support,” painting its involvement in this project — as well as a 2012 ExxonMobil-sponsored study of benzene-exposed workers showing adverse health effects …"

"… better understanding the chemical. The 2012 results in particular prompted ExxonMobil to “voluntarily reduce allowable benzene exposure limits to one-half of …"

Internal documents reveal industry 'pattern of behavior' on toxic chemicals

By David Heath and Jim Morris

A new archive created by the Center and two universities will feature a trove of previously secret industry documents on toxic chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pollution":

"… ents and have written Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution and other books and articles based on them. This is not the first databas …"

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 "Texas":

"… s — additional coalition members include the chief executives of Alaska, Texas, South Carolina and Louisiana — but none made anyone available, though A …"

"… hat featured officials from the five inaugural states of the coalition — Texas, Alaska, Virginia, Mississippi and Louisiana — who decried the federal g …"

"… before that, he says, as legal counsel to the top oil and gas regulator in Texas. The alliance says it seeks to improve understanding of the nation’s en …"

Nursing homes serving minorities offering less care than those housing whites

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Nursing homes serving blacks, Latinos provide less daily registered nurse care than those housing whites.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… elative to majority-white homes, the Center found. For Latinos, cities in Texas, among them El Paso and Brownsville, had daily registered nurse care level …"

Analysis shows widespread discrepancies in staffing levels reported by nursing homes

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Analysis shows staffing levels lower than what's reported on public website.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… air, she'd wheel over to try to help other residents in the Chenal Heights Health and Rehabilitation Center in Little Rock. Irvin had been placed there by …"

"… ior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs for the American Health Care Association, the nursing home industry’s largest professional organ …"

"… after Sanders moved her from the Chenal Heights facility to the Sandalwood Healthcare nursing home in Little Rock in July 2012. Ultimately, Sanders filed s …"

"… ned the facility for its lack of staffing. Sean Mathis, a lawyer for Hope Healthcare, the firm that owns Sandalwood, said Sandalwood will “vigorously def …"

Running a five-star nursing home

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Top-rated homes had more nurses, less turnover

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… site Nursing Home Compare than the average daily levels calculated through Medicare cost reports that are largely out of public view. In 2005 the Centers for …"

"… cost reports that are largely out of public view. In 2005 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for nursing home oversight, …"

"… id the Medicaid cost reports that have much of the same information as the Medicare documents are generally more accurate than the self-reported data found on …"

Juvenile facilities strive to foster ‘family engagement’

States adopt programs to involve families in rehabilitation of young offenders.

Excerpts from this story referencing "CEO":

"… it, rather than sever it, while they’re in custody.” Marcy Mistrett, CEO of the nonprofit, Washington-based Campaign for Youth Justice, expres …"

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 "Texas":

"… n the governorship. In a race that attracted a lot of national attention, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, beat Democratic state Sen. Wen …"

'Banking Caucus' member aims for Senate

By Alison Fitzgerald

Republican candidate for Senate U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito defends little banks but big banks benefit too.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New York":

"… cal action committees of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and Bank of New York Mellon are among the top 20 donors to Capito’s Senate run, according to …"

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 "chemicals":

"… nt years by pummeling rock with a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals. Industry groups have pointed to the boom as an economic godsend: jobs, c …"

"… an experience she said has proved typical in the state even though not all chemicals and gases have an odor. “The field rep said, ‘Well, if it doesn’t s …"

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 "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission":

"… ad of candidate campaigns. Thanks to the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and subsequent rulings, there is no limit to what a person, corporation o …"

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 "Environment":

"… etter to Dana Aunkst, the acting secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). "The Subcommittee minority is conducting this oversig …"

"… his lack of understanding can be traced to decisions Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made decades ago, when oil and gas producers successfu …"

"… l, president and CEO of the Environmental advocacy group Pennsylvania Environmental Council, this is a "signal that the DEP will step up and enforce" its ex …"

Another whistleblower suit alleges Medicare Advantage fraud

By Fred Schulte

California litigation alleges 'house calls" yielded false claims

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… ealth visits to Medicare Advantage patients in Ohio, New York, California, Texas, Oregon and Virginia.   The four health plans “turned a blind eye t …"

Super PACs exploit disclosure loophole

By Dave Levinthal

Several political committees that materialized in recent days aren't required to reveal donors until after Election Day.

Excerpts from this story referencing "South Dakota":

"… titutional Veterans for Freedom Super PAC of Wilmer, Texas. Futhermore, a South Dakota-based super PAC calling itself Many True Conservatives sprung into existen …"

A life-and-death struggle for asylum in America

By Susan Ferriss and Amy Isackson

Teens' tortured road to asylum in America.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… g people like Maria will be tested as never before — on U.S. soil and in Central America as well. The challenge to the system’s integrity and humanitarian oblig …"

"… or refugee status — the equivalent of asylum — from inside those three Central American countries if their parents are in the U.S. with legal status, including, …"

"… of Defense, a nonprofit in the nation’s capital, is scrambling to match Central American minors with counsel from a pool of 8,000 potential pro bono lawyers natio …"

"… efings. And if they are from “non-contiguous” countries, like those in Central America, they must be given a date to appear before an immigration judge before th …"

New air monitor planned for heavily fracked South Texas county

By Lisa Song and David Hasemyer

After a Center and InsideClimate News investigation, Texas regulators say they'll put an air monitor in the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chemicals":

"… ake continuous measurements of 46 volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals are released during all stages of oil and gas operations; some, like benze …"