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 "Washington":

"… ut of a possible 100 points. “One of the most dysfunctional agencies in Washington, D.C.,” said Stephen Spaulding, policy council for reform group Common C …"

"… rts as FEC chairwoman. “The one thing that I’ve learned in my year in Washington is that this is a really complicated place. And if it’s complicated for …"

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 "Texas":

"… Corporation to manage the Y-12 plant in Tennessee and the Pantex plant in Texas, where key nuclear weapons components are made. Panel co-chairman Richard …"

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 "New York":

"… ot of Cook. “State Sen. Bill Cook voted for a bill that would encourage New York, New Jersey and other states to dump their trash in North Carolina,” the …"

"… ash in North Carolina,” the voiceover says. “Tell Bill Cook attracting New York trash doesn’t pass the smell test.” The NRDC, whose mission is to pro …"

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 …"

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 "Comptroller":

"… lawmakers reject it publicly. That’s what happened on September 8, when Comptroller Michael McCord requested $1.5 billion in OCO funds to purchase 21 Apache h …"

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 "director":

"… at were “incongruent” with its actual program, and 2007, when then-CIA director Michael Hayden allegedly made roughly three dozen “inaccurate” stateme …"

"… the CIA’s actions were “a stain on our values and our history.” CIA director John Brennan, in a statement also released on Tuesday, acknowledged that t …"

"… summary by the CIA inspector general of a private interview with then-CIA director George Tenet said he believed in 2005 that "if the general public were to …"

"… s claims in May 2005 by approving the continued use of EIT. Then-CIA director Michael Hayden told the Senate committee in April 2007 that interrogators …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… immediately respond to a request for comment, but in October, he told the Center for Public Integrity that the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition “abides by all rules and regulat …"

Court case pushed by think tank could leave uninsured out in the cold

By Wendell Potter

Supreme Court case backed by think tank hinges on single sentence in Affordable Care Act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington":

"… what the cost, so be it, say the folks at a libertarian influence shop in Washington. When the high court announced earlier this month that it would decide a …"

"… heir health insurance, it was time for high-fives at the Cato Institute in Washington. Cato’s director of health policy studies, Michael Cannon, has argued f …"

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 "Congress":

"… yet begun substantive work on the next one. The coalition wrote letters to Congress and the Obama administration (two of which appear to have been edited by S …"

"… omic benefits of drilling, saying, “the key is to echo these messages to Congress and the Obama Administration, encouraging them to pursue a sensible path t …"

"… a lead role in delivering the messages below to the Administration and to Congress.” According to notes from the meeting prepared by CEA’s Joubert, Rand …"

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 …"

Juvenile facilities strive to foster ‘family engagement’

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Campaign for Youth Justice":

"… n custody.” Marcy Mistrett, CEO of the nonprofit, Washington-based Campaign for Youth Justice, expressed similar sentiments about incarcerated youths. “In detention, …"

Ballot measure backers spend big, win big

By Liz Essley Whyte

Of the most expensive ballot races, top spenders won over voters in 21 of 25 contests.

Excerpts from this story referencing "District of Columbia":

"… oters also approved a measure legalizing the possession of the drug in the District of Columbia, despite no pro-pot ad spending. But in Florida, a measure to allow medic …"

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 "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission":

"… ned rules on corporate electioneering following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision for Kentucky Opportunity Coalition’s unexpected rise. Certain t …"

Corporations, advocacy groups spend big on ballot measures

By Liz Essley Whyte

Corporations and national advocacy groups are throwing big dollars behind TV ads before voters decide 158 state ballot measures.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Rhode Island":

"… $6.4 million came from Coloradans for Better Schools, a group backed by a Rhode Island casino company, Twin River Casino. Competing casinos in Colorado are helpi …"

"… rsus casinos, according to an analysis of state campaign finance data. One Rhode Island gambling company, Twin River Casino, wants to offer slot machines, blackja …"

"… ads opposing the measure. “Amendment 68 is not about education. It’s a Rhode Island gambling scheme,” one opposition ad says. Most Coloradans likely have n …"

GAO takes on Medicare Advantage spending

By Fred Schulte

GAO will investigate program spending.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Miami":

"… dicare Advantage insurers are stacking up in federal courts. In one case, Miami physician Olivia Graves alleged that a Humana-affiliated clinic had diagno …"

Center for Public Integrity hires Carrie Levine as federal politics reporter

By The Center for Public Integrity

Carrie Levine — former Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington research director — to investigate money in politics.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… aign finance and political influence issues in the post-Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission era of politics. She will also contribute to "Primary Source," a 2014 Webb …"

A call for more scrutiny of private Medicare Advantage plans

By Fred Schulte

Researchers say aggressive billing by private plans may require more scrutiny

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… an standard Medicare. The industry also enjoys wide bipartisan support in Congress and in recent years has successfully lobbied to kill or scale back planned …"

Obamacare helps millions, but falls short in many ways

By Wendell Potter

The Affordable Care Act has reduced the ranks of the uninsured, but cost of care must be addressed.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… ot just those who have become newly insured over the past year. President Barack Obama cited some of the impressive statistics last Thursday, the day after the o …"

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 "California":

"… publicly. According to the monitoring report, the trademarked emblem of a California-based firm, Sporting Supplies International Inc., was found on many shells …"

Controversial Republican telemarketer forms super PAC

By Dave Levinthal

Gabriel S. Joseph III's past political efforts include an anti-Obama spam text message campaign that prompted legal complaints.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… ginia-based super PAC known as The Survey Group PAC, on Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission, new documents show. It's unclear what Joseph, who did not immediately re …"

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 "Bank of America":

"… erforms money transfers for 70 percent of U.S. offenders. On Wall Street, Bank of America plays a perpetual second fiddle to JPMorgan Chase & Co., the only U.S. …"

"… the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center, there exists a market that Bank of America has locked down, literally. For the 790 federal prisoners incarcerated at …"

"… locked down, literally. For the 790 federal prisoners incarcerated at MCC, Bank of America controls the provision of money transfers, e-messaging and some telephone …"

"… f Prisons system — 121 institutions housing 214,365 inmates. Since 2000, Bank of America has collected at least $76.3 million for its work on the program. When in …"

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 "Washington":

"… ked carefully at their tools and authorities. There are two regulators in Washington that could have the authority to look at prison bankers’ monopolies, and …"

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 "CEO":

"… ented this business,” said Ryan Shapiro, 37, the company’s founder and CEO, in a phone interview in June. “Everyone else tries to imitate what we d …"

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 "Inspector General":

"… eral cases now being examined by Department of Energy (DOE) Inspector General Gregory Friedman, as part of a broader examination of inconsistent classif …"

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 "Congress":

"… o keep this Senate seat blue. …"

"… s that will likely determine which party will control the upper chamber of Congress during the final two years of Obama’s presidency. 1) North Carolina Dem …"

"… castrating hogs among her credentials for knowing how to “cut pork” in Congress. About 31,500 ads from candidates, parties and other politically active g …"

Russian bank hires two former U.S. senators

By Alexander Cohen

U.S. sanctions against Russia are becoming a boon for Washington's lobbyists.

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

"… petitioning former colleagues on behalf of clients, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2008, they started a lobbying firm with their sons, Breaux Lott Leader …"

How big telecom smothers city-run broadband

By Allan Holmes

Municipal broadband boosts business, but often stops at city limits thanks to lobbying muscle of telecom giants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "state law":

"… uests from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, to pre-empt state laws that block municipalities from building or expanding broadband networks, …"

"… oves out of the city limits, “we can no longer serve them because of the state law.” About 80 percent of the customers who leave TUB do so because they hav …"

"… th operate fiber networks, petitioned the FCC to pre-empt their respective state laws that restrict them from expanding service. Both cities said towns and bu …"

"… cluding during testimony to Congress, that he would pre-empt the state laws if the agency is asked to do so. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican who …"

Lobbying disclosures leave public in the dark

By Marcelo Rochabrun and Dave Levinthal

Despite efforts to beef up laws regulating lobbyists, public is in the dark when it comes to what firms are up to in Washington.

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

"… efforts has also slipped each year since 2010, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The drop, some have theorized, may be due to more lobbyists terminating …"

State lawmakers take aim at federal gun control

By Justine McDaniel, Robby Korth and Jessica Boehm

A growing collection of state legislatures seeks to disqualify federal gun control laws

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington":

"… ifying federal gun laws because that could undo NRA legislative success in Washington. “I think that is a misguided distraction,” said Todd Rathner, an NRA …"

‘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 "public relations":

"… o a website called “,” one of dozens connected to local public relations executive Rick Berman, once dubbed “Dr. Evil” in a segment of 60 Minut …"

"… ets of the Humane Society. is vintage Berman. He pays his public relations firm with revenue from the various nonprofits he runs. He creates online …"

"… credit. So Berman, the nonprofit executive director, is paying Berman the public relations executive, for services. The self-payments prompted Charity Navigator, wh …"

"… ed and workers voted to form a union, according to the story. Unlike many public relations firms, Berman and Co. doesn’t identify scores of clients on its website. …"