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 "Russia":

"… er Sens. Trent Lott and John Breaux were part of a team paid $150,000 by a Russian bank to lobby on U.S. sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, according to a n …"

"… ington, D.C., were retained over the summer by a banking subsidiary of the Russian oil giant Gazprombank and lobbied the Senate and the Department of State …"

"… e no longer expected to act as a lobbyist” for the bank. Gazprombank is Russia’s third largest bank. On July 16 — a month and a half before Brea …"

"… ing — the U.S. Treasury Department added the bank to a list of Russian firms barred from debt financing with U.S. institutions. Lott and Breaux …"

Center report spurs investigation of Bank of America, JPMorgan prison deals

By Daniel Wagner

No-bid contracts with Bank of America and JPMorgan under government scrutiny after Center report.

Excerpts from this story referencing "bank":

"… enter for Public Integrity. The Center first reported this month that the banks have exclusive access to the more than 214,000 federal inmates under cont …"

"… . It is unclear how much money JPMorgan has made on the cards because the bank’s compensation comes from fees charged directly to former inmates. A sep …"

"… Comerica bank. Treasury paid Comerica an extra $32.5 million for work the bank had promised to do for free, the audit found. Treasury has spent more tha …"

"… past decade on financial agency agreements often with the same handful of banks, documents show. The Center’s report about federal prisons w …"

California coverage plan for undocumented echoes earlier call by Schwarzenegger

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: former governor supported plan allowing coverage for undocumented residents.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… rmer California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, Democrats in Congress decided as they worked on health care reform that providing coverage to th …"

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 "Texas":

"… and said she was in custody after a harrowing raft ride over the river in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. Maria spent months in a U.S. Department of Health a …"

"… in a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-run shelter in Houston, Texas, after her detention. Then she was transferred to a foster family in Los A …"

Senator questions Bank of America’s no-bid prison deal

By Daniel Wagner

After a Center report, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, says Bank of America's no-bid prison banking deal "raises significant questions"

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate":

"… s significant questions.” Grassley is the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department. He could becom …"

"… uld become chairman of the committee if Republicans gain a majority in the Senate after this fall’s election. Prisons account for more than one-fourth of …"

Investigators find Islamic State used ammo made in 21 countries, including America

By Julia Harte and R. Jeffrey Smith

A new report from an arms tracking group highlights how easily munitions shipped to the Middle East shift from one owner to another.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate":

"… ven a chance to review them in advance. Between 2003 and 2013, the senior Senate staff member in charge of that review process was Thomas Moore on the Fore …"

Megabanks have prison financial services market locked up

By Daniel Wagner

Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase & Co. avoid competitive bidding process in contracts serving federal prisoners.

Excerpts from this story referencing "law":

"… y to say no to being transparent,” said Barofsky, now a partner with the law firm Jenner & Block LLP. Treasury’s power to award the deals, known …"

"… , the department’s broad use of this power has drawn criticism from lawmakers, auditors with the Government Accountability Office, federal appeals …"

Open pits offer cheap disposal for fracking sludge, but health worries mount

By David Hasemyer and Zahra Hirji

Air emissions from oil and gas waste are among the least regulated, least monitored and least understood components of the fracking boom.

Excerpts from this story referencing "president":

"… mption could have a chilling effect on future development.” Alex Mills, president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, said local economies would …"

Inside the virtual tollbooth at many U.S. prisons

By Daniel Wagner, Eleanor Bell and Sarah Whitmire

How Reporters Dan Wagner and Eleanor Bell investigated a fee structure that's oppressive for many inmates' families.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Ryan Shapiro":

"… learned that JPay was far and away the biggest player in this field. I got Ryan Shapiro on the phone. The first thing he asked me was, “How did you get my numb …"

Prison bankers cash in on captive customers

By Daniel Wagner

Private company profits by helping prisons squeeze inmates' families for cash.

Excerpts from this story referencing "JPay Inc.":

"… f last year, the Virginia Department of Corrections informed her that JPay Inc., a private company in Florida, would begin handling all deposits into inma …"

12 things to know about who’s trying to influence your vote in 2014

By Ben Wieder, Kytja Weir, Reity O'Brien and Rachel Baye

If you watch TV you've seen an unbelievable number of political ads asking for your vote. Do you know who is paying for those ads, and why?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… king for your vote. Do you know who is paying for those ads, and why? The Center for Public Integrity is trying answer this question, by investigating who is trying to influenc …"

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 "Senate":

"… r. After the McDonnell verdict, state House Speaker William J. Howell and Senate Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., both Republicans, wrote an op-ed in th …"

"… t in 2015. State Sen. John S. Edwards, a Democrat who was chairman of the Senate Rules Committee last session, told the Center that he supports the governo …"

Marine Corps settles dispute with whistleblower

By Julia Harte

Scientific adviser Franz Gayl, whose protests forced the Corps to buy costly MRAPs, is appointed to a new commission on whistleblowers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington, D.C.":

"… attorney, Tom Devine at the nonprofit Government Accountability Project in Washington, D.C., said that since “team members must exercise sound judgment and work wit …"

Who’s trying to influence your vote?

By Chris Zubak-Skees, Kytja Weir and Dave Levinthal

A guide to our political TV ad trackers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… ndidate but don’t overtly call for the candidate’s election or defeat. Federal Election Commission records only capture ads containing overt advocacy, with the exception of …"

In Kansas, Democratic donors invest in uncertainty

By Michael Beckel

Independent Senate candidate Greg Orman lures left-leaning donors despite uncertainty about whether he'll caucus with Democrats.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pat Roberts":

"… become one of the nation’s more bizarre races: incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts narrowly survived a primary challenge from tea party foe Milton Wolf, and …"

Health insurers turning into who knows what?

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health insurers are transforming themselves — but into what?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

"… tend to think that insurers with well-known brands like Aetna, Blue Cross, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare have been around forever and likely will always be wi …"

"… spitals and became Humana the managed care company. I left Humana to join Cigna in 1993. Cigna, which started out as a fire and marine insurance company, …"

"… ame Humana the managed care company. I left Humana to join Cigna in 1993. Cigna, which started out as a fire and marine insurance company, had by then mor …"

"… ling health insurance by this time. But within a year or so after I joined Cigna, Wall Street decided that multi-line insurers were dinosaurs and insisted …"

The 47-year-old nuclear elephant in the room

By Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith

A growing number of U.S. experts say that feigning ignorance about Israel’s nuclear arsenal creates more trouble than it averts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… world’s “worst-kept secrets” dates from a political deal between the United States and Israel in the late 1960s. Its consequence has been to help Israel main …"

"… pons, a widespread consensus exists in the region and among experts in the United States that Israel possesses a number of nuclear weapons. For Israel’s neighbor …"

"… ould not test its nuclear weapons or announce it possessed them, while the United States wouldn’t press Israel to give them up or to sign the Non-Proliferation T …"

"… ma’s top advisor on nuclear nonproliferation from 2009 to 2013, said the United States has long preferred that Israel hold to its policy of amimut, out of concer …"

DOE official seeks probe of dissident analyst’s dismissal by nuclear weapons laboratory

By Douglas Birch

The overseer of U.S. nuclear weapons production requests an Inspector General’s review of the firing of Los Alamos analyst James Doyle.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New Mexico":

"… tantial” law-breaking by the lab. Reached by phone while on vacation in New Mexico, Doyle said he had not yet seen Marmolejos’ letter and would study it wh …"

Children's rights groups urge Defense program to stop giving school cops military hardware

By Susan Ferriss

Groups trying to curb use of police in school discipline urge federal officials not give military weapons to campus police departments.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… ave been handed over to school districts large and small, from California, Texas, Nevada and Utah to Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Michigan.   In Cali …"

"… NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund and public-interest law groups Texas Appleseed of Austin, Texas, and Public Counsel, which is based in Los Ange …"

"… d Education Fund and public-interest law groups Texas Appleseed of Austin, Texas, and Public Counsel, which is based in Los Angeles. Controversy over so-c …"

"… pline, as the Center for Public Integrity has reported.    Both Texas Appleseed and Public Counsel have been active in pushing for states and di …"

Black lung disease surges to highs not seen since the '70s, research shows

By Chris Hamby

The likely culprit: a failure by coal mining companies to use readily available tools to control the dust that lodges in miners' lungs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… the researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in a letter …"

"… to improve miners’ Health.” Back in 1969, the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act limited the amount of dust allowed in mines with the e …"

"… 1, parts of a long-awaited rule from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration took effect, and regulators say it should close these looph …"

Treasury extends controversial bank-card deal with Comerica

By Daniel Wagner

Treasury extends Comerica program that exposed the elderly and poor to fraud.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Inspector General":

"… of $24.2 million into $8.4 million of profit, according a March report by Inspector General Eric Thorson. The extra payments might “provide Comerica with a future …"

Investigating Florida's parallel legal system for foreclosures

By Alison Fitzgerald and Sarah Whitmire

A Q&A with Senior Reporter Alison Fitzgerald on her most recent investigation into Sunshine State foreclosures.

Excerpts from this story referencing "bank":

"… ive? What I saw is that the initiative tilts the legal system in favor of banks. For that small fraction of homeowners who are defending their homes, the …"

"… f homeowners who are defending their homes, they are now fighting not only banks, but also the state. When a court or judge tries to move a case forward, …"

"… tries to move a case forward, they are by default working on behalf of the bank which brought the case. And they are giving the banks leeway in terms of e …"

"… king on behalf of the bank which brought the case. And they are giving the banks leeway in terms of evidence they would never give to a homeowner. I revi …"

Mitch McConnell revs ad machine

By Michael Beckel

Kentucky’s embattled senior senator has aired roughly one campaign ad every five minutes since Labor Day.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Louisiana":

"… ding to estimates from Kantar Media/CMAG. In Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa and Louisiana, Democrats and their allies also edged out their rivals by narrower margin …"

Homeowners steamrolled as Florida courts clear foreclosure backlog

By Alison Fitzgerald

Why are Florida's courts rushing to clear more than 700 foreclosure cases per day?

Excerpts from this story referencing "bank":

"… unty Courthouse she refused to delay foreclosure trials in cases where the banks and homeowners together requested extra time. Lewis’ manner may be bru …"

"… clear the court dockets, largely by awarding tens of thousands of homes to banks. “The state’s entire court system has been compromised,” says Matt …"

"… used on clearing the court system of cases and cutting the time it takes a bank to foreclose. What began as an effort by the Florida Legislature and judi …"

"… ds of families out of houses and turning the foreclosed properties over to banks and mortgage servicers to maintain and sell into an already swamped marke …"

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 "Texas":

"… in states other than New Hampshire. Mayday PAC is headquartered in Austin, Texas. Shaheen’s campaign itself, at last count Aug. 20, had nearly four time …"

FEC not 'Ready for Warren'

By Dave Levinthal

The nation's election regulator is telling an upstart super PAC to change its name, saying it violates federal law.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Elizabeth Warren":

"… al election regulators are telling an upstart super PAC that's urging Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to seek the presidency. In a letter Sunday, the Federal Electio …"

"… rren PAC's treasurer, confirmed that "the goal of our campaign is to draft Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016."  Sagrans noted that candidate draft c …"

GOP’s Senate hopes energized by Koch network ad blitz

By Michael Beckel

How many TV ads have groups connected to the billionaire brothers aired in your state?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Karl Rove":

"… tive. Even the two main big-money committees co-founded by GOP strategist Karl Rove — American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS — have only aired about half …"

Afghan government can’t account for billions of dollars in Pentagon aid

By James Arkin

Military officials did not hold Afghanistan accountable for mismanaging the disbursement of funds to the army and police.

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 "president":

"… 2.5 million to Patriot Majority USA since January 2011. Craig Varoga, the president of Patriot Majority USA, declined to answer specific questions from the Ce …"

"… ependent group that helped Reid win re-election. He’s also worked on the presidential campaigns of Democrats Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry, among othe …"

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 "Elizabeth Warren":

"… d to reclaim his political fortune. He lost his office in 2012 to Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Although Brown is expected to the Republican Party’s nominee next week …"

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