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 "Arizona":

"… is story. …"

"… e’s airwaves with ads running nearly 1,400 times. “Times are tough in Arizona, but Sandra Kennedy voted to hurt Arizona families. Kennedy voted for high …"

"… 00 times. “Times are tough in Arizona, but Sandra Kennedy voted to hurt Arizona families. Kennedy voted for higher sales taxes, but she didn’t even pay …"

"… primary purpose.”  So it’s nearly impossible for Kennedy or other Arizonans to prove who funded the attack ads that helped lead to her loss in Novem …"

High-stakes health care battle in the Green Mountain state

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: fate of Vermont single-payer initiative may depend on financing plan.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… insurance industry’s biggest opportunity to derail the state’s plans. Health insurers have reason to be concerned. Even though Vermont has just 627,000 …"

"… ide their involvement. We probably would never have known that America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main trade group, funneled more than $10 …"

"… er their strategy, Shumlin last year formed a Business Advisory Council on Health Care Financing. The 21-member council “provides the governor with advice …"

"… chter, president of the nonprofit single-payer advocacy group Vermont Health Care for All, told me. “People need to be reminded that we will pay for …"

GOP rides cavalry to U.S. Senate majority

By Michael Beckel, Dave Levinthal and Carrie Levine

Super PACs, 'dark money' nonprofits help make Election Day difference as Republicans seize a U.S. Senate majority

Excerpts from this story referencing "Karl Rove":

"… ive groups — including a cluster of groups tied to Republican strategist Karl Rove and a network of groups backed by billionaire industrialists Charles and D …"

Flush with mystery money, Kentucky nonprofit haunts Grimes’ Senate bid

By Michael Beckel

Formerly modest nonprofit becomes deep-pocketed, dark money benefactor of Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Chamber of Commerce":

"… triot Majority USA have made modest ad buys on Grimes’ behalf, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS have both joined the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition on …"

Democrats seize air supremacy in Senate battlegrounds

By Dave Levinthal and Michael Beckel

Liberals aired more TV ads last week than their conservative foils in seven of the nine top Senate battlegrounds races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Michigan":

"… ant in the U.S. Senate races being waged in Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana and Michigan, where they bested Republicans by sponsoring hundreds more TV spots throug …"

"… t could be Republican Terri Lynn Land’s waning U.S. Senate fortunes, the Michigan candidate’s campaign committee ran just 425 TV ads last week. That’s l …"

Eyeballs burn in North Carolina, Iowa ahead of U.S. Senate elections

By Michael Beckel

Last week, North Carolina, Iowa residents saw three political ads focused on contentious Senate elections every five minutes.

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

"… ontrol of Congress, as the GOP is widely expected to retain control of the U.S. House. Related: Big money is also being spent in elections for state-level posit …"

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 "Arizona":

"… y spend their money, effectively masking who is really calling the shots. Arizona gubernatorial hopeful Christine Jones was on the receiving end of suc …"

"… h. Everybody’s motivated by something.” Citizens United did away with Arizona’s ban on the use of corporate and union money to influence elections,&nb …"

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 "Center for Responsive Politics":

"… ertly advocating for or against federal-level candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.  Topping the list is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the natio …"

In New Hampshire, quixotic super PAC shaking up Republican primary

By Dave Levinthal

Big-spending Mayday PAC giving Jim Rubens an unexpected boost — and Scott Brown a headache — ahead of GOP primary.

Excerpts from this story referencing "lobbyist":

"… ity’s honor code and propagating the “flat-out lie” that Brown was a lobbyist. It promised to leave “all our legal options on the table.” In respon …"

Why Republican control of Congress hinges on nine big-money Senate races

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Nine big-money Senate races will determine whether Republicans control both chambers of Congress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Republican Party":

"… e in 2012 to Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Although Brown is expected to the Republican Party’s nominee next week, he nevertheless faces a pair of plucky challengers …"

Outsiders dominate Alaska's Senate race

By Michael Beckel

Washington, D.C.-based groups are dominating the airwaves in the Last Frontier, home to one of the nation's most contested Senate races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "San Francisco":

"… g, media mogul Fred Eychaner of Chicago and environmentalist Tom Steyer of San Francisco among its top donors. Put Alaska First’s spending spree has augmented B …"

‘Dr. Evil’ fuels dogfight between AKC, Humane Society

By John Dunbar and Erin Quinn

Public relations pro, food industry behind website, ads blasting Humane Society.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bloomberg":

"… a plant in Tar Heel, N. C., according to a lawsuit, as reported in a Bloomberg News story. The suit was settled and workers voted to form a union, accord …"

Washington's cynical misinformation game

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: the role of distortion in health care politics.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… ational Journal article about a new tactic used by the National Republican Congressional Committee to attack Democratic candidates. Earlier this year, the NRC …"

"… h insurers or that the spot was part of a continuing effort by AHIP to get Congress to eliminate a fee that was imposed on insurers to help offset the cost of …"

"… Washington with NFIB staff during which we planned a campaign to make sure Congress did not pass a Patient’s Bill of Rights. Insurers worried that a provisi …"

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 "National Rifle Association":

"… than $3 million during last year’s second quarter and easily trumped the National Rifle Association in this regard — invested $1.24 million during this year’s second quar …"

The beautification of Thad Cochran

By Dave Levinthal

Senator's supporters suddenly turn cheery in final bid to save Mississippi mainstay's job.

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

"… p;in a U.S. Senate primary since the 2010 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The winner of tonight's runoff faces Democrat Travis Childers, a former …"

Mississippi's super PAC-dominated Senate slugfest not over yet

By Dave Levinthal

Cochran and McDaniel prepare to square off again June 24 as outside groups spend millions in GOP's contested Senate primary.

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

"… aces, according to data provided to the Center for Public Integrity by the Center for Responsive Politics. It happened just one time — in Arkansas — in 2010. It's easier than …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… of Commerce and the affiliated Institute for Legal Reform, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation. The Chamber isn’t talking, but it’s not hard to figure …"

"… te attorney general races and the top spender was the RSLC, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, s …"

GOP civil war rages in Senate primary battles

By Dave Levinthal

Conservative nonprofits and super PACs have spent $10 million bashing Republicans to the delight of Democrats.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Republican Party":

"… icy that’s lowering taxes and making government smaller.” Officially, Republican Party officials are floating above the fray, and per usual, not endorsing candid …"

"… ckoo caucus going against hardened conservatives. It shows how extreme the Republican Party has become, and that helps Democrats.” Said Matt Thornton, spokesman fo …"

"… er PAC House Majority PAC: “Pass the popcorn. It’s indicative that the Republican Party is at war with itself… the longer they’re spending money against each …"

Koch brothers, major corporations sponsor pension reform seminar for judges

By Chris Young

Judges who may decide fates of public pension reform disputes to attend seminar sponsored by pro-business interests.

Excerpts from this story referencing "ExxonMobil":

"… dges who may decide the cases’ fates. Conference funders, which include ExxonMobil, Google and Wal-Mart, could benefit from efforts to slash benefits for pub …"

Chemical industry among big spenders on lobbying this quarter

By Dave Levinthal

New numbers indicate it's still good to be a lobbyist in America.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Koch Industries":

"… reporting more modest increases include the American Medical Association, Koch Industries, National Association of Broadcasters, defense contractor United Technolog …"

Outside groups help boost David Jolly to victory

By Michael Beckel

Outside groups spent nearly $5 million aiding Republican in Florida's heated House race.

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

"… 000) and American Crossroads ($470,000). Outside allies — including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and House Majority PAC — also sprung to vanquished Democrat Alex Sink’ …"

Outside groups dwarf candidate spending in Florida special election

By Michael Beckel

Less than one-third of money pumped into House contest is controlled by Sink or Jolly.

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

"… g about $470,000. All the while, Democratic-aligned groups, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and several left-leaning super PACs, have pummeled Jolly. These organizati …"

Super PACs, nonprofits fueling GOP strife

By Dave Levinthal

Conservative super PACs, nonprofits spending millions to blast Republicans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "John Boehner":

"… s only limited to primary season, not the general election. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is all but assured to win another term. But that hasn't dissuaded …"

Exelon amends reports concerning contributions to trade groups

By Michael Beckel

Nuclear giant says its political contribution reports overstated numerous payments to politically active nonprofits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Chamber of Commerce":

"… ns such as the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Edison Electric Institute and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The company additionally contributed a combined $317,500 to politically …"

Top U.S. corporations funneled $173 million to political nonprofits

By Michael Beckel

Analysis of company disclosures reveals steady flow of cash from corporations to social welfare organizations, trade associations.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… the Fix the Debt Coalition calls for dramatic reforms to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the U.S. tax code — positions that might be objectionable …"

Pulling back the veil on corporate contributions

By Michael Beckel and Erin Quinn

New database pulls back veil on corporate giving to politically active nonprofits and covert ways companies advance their agendas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Chamber of Commerce":

"… 2012. That means if you are interested in trade associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers or the Business Roundtable, you …"

Top politics investigations from 2013

By The Center for Public Integrity

In case you missed it, here are some of our favorite politics investigations from 2013.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Charles G. Koch":

"… “Corporations and the Limits of Criminal Law.” Who picked up the tab? Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical and the U.S. Chamber of Co …"

League of Conservation Voters becoming 'dark money' heavyweight

By Michael Beckel

The liberal League of Conservation Voters is fast becoming one of the nation’s strongest 'dark money' forces.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Sierra Club":

"… name because 501(c)(4) advocacy organizations like LCV — as well as the Sierra Club, NRA, AARP and others — serve an important role in our democracy,” he …"

Push against offshore secrecy an uphill battle

By Michael Hudson

Big players are taking unprecedented steps to stop offshore abuses, but financial crime fighters worry reforms don’t go far enough.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chief":

"… enters are “a lot of bluster,” Donald Semesky, former financial crimes chief for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, believes. “They all look g …"

'Dark money' groups give big to similar nonprofits

By Julie Patel

Politically active nonprofits frequently share money with one another while hiding donors, new tax filings show.

Excerpts from this story referencing "IBM":

"… Verizon Communications Inc., Phillips 66 Company, Xerox Corp., Alcoa Inc., IBM, United Parcel Service, Southern Co., Allstate Insurance Co. and the Las V …"