Secretive groups spend millions to influence state elections

By Reity O'Brien

Nonprofits hit TV airwaves with attacks on state-level candidates, gaining traction since the U.S. Supreme Court 'Citizens United' decision.

Excerpts from this story referencing "advocate":

"… eral court, freed corporations and unions to spend limitlessly to directly advocate for the victory or defeat of candidates. For the nonprofit groups, which a …"

'Outside' groups swamp Florida's airwaves in race for governor

By Rachel Baye

Lax laws allow candidates to work so closely with outside groups, contribution limits become almost irrelevant.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Governor":

"… ar. The group’s biggest donor this election cycle is the Republican Governors Association, which gave $9 million since January 2013, according to state …"

"… y 2013, according to state filings. The Washington, D.C.-based Republican Governors Association is a political powerhouse that spends tens of millions of dol …"

"… hedge fund manager Paul Singer, according to IRS filings. The Republican Governors Association also gave $225,000 to the Republican Party of Florida in Dece …"

Gun rights debate enters a new arena: the campus

By Wade Millward and Carmen Forman

The right to carry a firearm onto college campuses has become another issue in the gun control debate

Excerpts from this story referencing "University of Utah":

"… ons on campus. The first state to finalize campus carry was Utah in 2006. University of Utah continued banning guns on campus despite the state’s 2004 pree …"

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 "Comcast":

"… erates a fiber-optic Internet service that competes with companies such as Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc., will petition the Federal Communica …"

"… t purchase from the area’s private Internet and cable providers such as Comcast and Charter. A state law passed in 1999 prohibits Chattanooga from offeri …"

"… pecific, and statute-specific inquiry.” Charter declined to comment, and Comcast didn’t respond to requests for comment. More than 130 cities operate th …"

"… by AT&T Inc., Time Warner Cable Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast. The companies are among some of the biggest contributors to state lawmak …"

How cozy can candidates be with political groups?

By Rachel Baye

A Wisconsin probe into recall campaigns highlights murky rules nationwide about how much candidates and outside groups can coordinate.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Fundraising":

"… is made without the consent, authorization or cooperation of a candidate. Fundraising is part of the spending process because no group can spend money if it has …"

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 "Florida":

"… D.C.-based group has given $2.5 million directly to a committee supporting Florida’s Republican incumbent, Rick Scott, and $1.5 million to a committee …"

Shameful coverage of Obamacare's real impacts

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Obamacare coverage that doesn't inform.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wisconsin":

"… air Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, and GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin about whether the color of President Obama’s skin might explain why some …"

Judge who stopped Wisconsin campaign finance probe tied to Koch-funded junkets

By Chris Young

Federal judge who attended Koch-funded conferences halts campaign finance investigation into Wisconsin group with Koch ties.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wisconsin":

"… nd to an investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and conservative groups during two recent recall electio …"

"… Judge Rudolph Randa of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin ordered prosecutors to immediately halt its long-running investigation int …"

"… ation into the campaign spending and fundraising activities of Walker, the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other conservative groups. Prosecutors were trying to …"

"… g campaign strategies at the time of the 2011 and 2012 recall elections in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Club for Growth spent millions on ads during Wisconsin’s …"

Tobacco money fuels gay Republicans, business organizations

By Michael Beckel

Reynolds American gave thousands of dollars to politically active nonprofits such as the Log Cabin Republicans, Americans for Prosperity.

Excerpts from this story referencing "North Carolina":

"… eased by the company and reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity. The North Carolina-based company donated $4,000 to the Koch-supported Americans for Prosperit …"

"… contributed at least $550,000 last year to trade associations, such as the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Tobacco Outlets and the Bodeg …"

"… hich has backed Republicans in state-level elections; $50,000 to the Renew North Carolina Foundation, an organization formed by allies of the state’s Republican g …"

"… conservative group has continued to assail vulnerable Democrats, including North Carolina’s incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, who is seeking re-election to a second term …"

ICIJ guide to voter restrictions around the world

By Sasha Chavkin and Hamish Boland-Rudder

In light of the recent voter ID ruling in Wisconsin, ICIJ set out to learn more about voting restrictions outside of the U.S.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wisconsin":

"… ICIJ.org to continue reading.    …"

"… a blow in one of America’s most contentious legal battles. Finding that Wisconsin’s new law requiring that citizens show government-issued photo IDs in or …"

"… past or present discrimination,” Judge Adelman wrote in her decision on Wisconsin. The controversy over America’s restrictive voting laws — which suppo …"

GOP leaders, donors mix during secretive forum

By Michael Beckel

Documents shed light on closed-door confab featuring top politicians and donors.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wall Street Journal":

"… of the New York Times; former CNN anchor Campbell Brown; Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal; Bill Kristol, the founder of the Weekly Standard; and Ramesh Ponnuru of t …"

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 "Spencer Bachus":

"… g leapfrogged senior members to become committee chair last year when Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., stepped down because of term limits set by House Republicans. Op …"

More than a dozen states could throw out donation caps after McCutcheon ruling

By Michael Beckel

A Supreme Court ruling elminating aggregate limits on campaign contributions invalidates similar rules in states.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Louisiana":

"… e limits on the political contributions of corporations and labor unions. Louisiana limits contributors from giving more than $100,000 to non-candidate commit …"

New report ranks best, worst states for kids of all ethnicities

By Susan Ferriss

Ethnic minority children will be majority of U.S. kids in four years, but face barriers to success in some places.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Michigan":

"… ican kids face especially daunting obstacles in Mississippi, Wisconsin and Michigan. Native American kids face the biggest challenges in South Dakota. Latino …"

Ready for Hillary courts super PAC skeptics

By Michael Beckel

Ready for Hillary is courting 'Citizens United' skeptics — and finding success.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic National Committee":

"… per PACs. Even as Bremer Muggli — a die-hard Democrat who serves on the Democratic National Committee — says she’d prefer to see publicly funded elections, she also sees th …"

Education groups battle teachers unions in state races

By Rachel Baye

Groups funded by billionaires back state-level candidates who want to weaken teachers unions and promote charter schools.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Southern California":

"… ng into, said Patricia Burch , an education professor at the University of Southern California. Not so anymore. The technology schools use to administer tests and suppl …"

Congress twists the relevant facts on purpose

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Congressional Budget Office report deliberately distorted.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wisconsin":

"… employers decide our services are no longer needed. As Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 GOP vice-presidential nominee, said during the Congressional deb …"

Billionaires boost Republican governors group past Democrats in fundraising

By Ben Wieder

GOP governors' group outraises counterpart, but Democrats still expected to win a few races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mississippi":

"… to step down, Christie may have trouble matching the Midas touch of former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who raised a staggering $87 million to help the party …"

Pro-gay marriage Republican group boosted by Karl Rove’s super PAC

By Julie Patel and Michael Beckel

Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer's 'American Unity' super PAC received $53,000 from American Crossroads last year.

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

"… GOP strategists Ed Gillespie and Karl Rove, a former adviser to President George W. Bush. Gillespie himself is now running for the U.S. Senate in Virginia. Federa …"

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 "Wall Street Journal":

"… of its officers urged Democrats to avoid “economic populism” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. The piece led Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to fire off …"

‘Nonpartisan’ gun rights group boosted by Democratic-aligned America Votes

By Adam Wollner and Michael Beckel

Nearly all of 'nonpartisan' Bull Moose Sportsmen's funding has come from a Democratic-aligned nonprofit.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pat Toomey":

"… he background check measure — crafted by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. — failed to overcome a GOP-led filibuster in April, when 54 senat …"

State judges: We don't need no stinkin' disclosure

By John Dunbar, Reity O'Brien, Kytja Weir and Chris Young

Officials defend limited financial disclosure for high court judges.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Nevada":

"… nances.   Attacking the messenger Bill Gang, spokesman for the Nevada Supreme Court (42.5 points), called the report "somewhat mi …"

"… ion about the finances of judges’ spouses and dependent children, saying Nevada could not pass because it does not seek such information. Judicial expert …"

State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information

By Reity O'Brien, Kytja Weir and Chris Young

Despite universally poor disclosure rules, Center finds numerous conflicts among state high court judges.

Excerpts from this story referencing "federal government":

"… t by mail or email, sometimes for a processing or copying fee — like the federal government. Only eight states post all of their supreme courts’ financial disclosur …"

'Citizens United' ruling helped unions win state elections

By Alan Suderman and Ben Wieder

National unions, business groups focused on states in 2012 elections with unions gaining the edge, new analysis shows.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mississippi":

"… el as well,” says Brad Chism, a Democratic political consultant based in Mississippi, whose former firm did direct mail for a number of outside groups in state …"

State pro-business organizations are publicly funded, but privately controlled

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Unelected business authorities operate on state funds, but disclose little.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Arizona":

"… Chris Zubak-Skees contributed to this report.   …"

"… ors run by the governor and Jerry Colangelo, who, after four decades as an Arizona sports and real estate mogul, is a local icon.  Sixteen other corpora …"

"… laws and, as of this year, from government audits. Other states, including Arizona, have applied ethics and freedom of information laws to the entities but h …"

"… charge to make decisions that were never elected,” said Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. “Is …"

'America Votes' spent nearly $1 million on Wisconsin recall

By Adam Wollner

Progressive nonprofit, fueled by unions, targeted Wisconsin recall elections in 2011 and 2012.

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

"… ne 2012 and spent $9.6 million, according to an IRS filing obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Of the total, $725,400 went to the Greater Wisconsin Committee and $150, …"

"… ey America Votes brought in during this period came from just 10 donors, a Center for Public Integrity analysis found. Documents show the two largest donations were $1.56 millio …"

"… d unions have been a major source of funding for the group, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of filings with the Department of Labor. Ten major labor groups …"

Obamacare's hidden battle: insurance agents push state regulation of guides to new marketplaces

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Insurance agents talk state legislators into regulating Obamacare's consumer helpers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Missouri":

"… ator laws since 2012, with most coming this year, including Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Texas, Indiana and Wisconsin. (Illinois’ Gov. Pat Quinn has yet to sign …"

"… worked on the rules implementing the law, according to state filings. In Missouri, where the bill also originated with agents and brokers and was largely ba …"

Super PAC forms to elect liberal women governors

By Adam Wollner

Former EMILY's List official starts group to boost liberal, female gubernatorial candidates.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic National Committee":

"… te. And in Virginia, Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe are vying for the state’s top job. In 2014, 36 …"

State campaign contribution limits on the rise

By Adam Wollner

Individual campaign contribution limits are on the rise as states hedge against super PACs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wisconsin":

"… o spend more time with the few people who give them more,” Bender said. Wisconsin appears poised to become the next state to enact higher contribution limit …"

Wisconsin justice's spouse head of union-busting law firm

By Chris Young

Wisconsin Supreme Court justice married to head of firm that battles unions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wisconsin":

"… ions remain about how the law applies to state employees.     …"

"… n Walsh Bradley’s husband is Mark J. Bradley, a lawyer for Ruder Ware, a Wisconsin-based law firm that specializes in decertifying unions and other pro-busin …"

"… re is representing a party,” he said. Marsha Mansfield, a University of Wisconsin law professor who specializes in legal ethics, says the justice’s ethica …"

"… he adds, “it has to be more than just a perceived bias.” According to Wisconsin’s Code of Judicial Conduct, judges should sit out cases in which judges …"

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