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 "National Rifle Association":

"… RS’s Tax Exempt Organizations Divisions. Since 1981, groups such as the National Rifle Association, AARP and Planned Parenthood — sometimes referred to as “501(c)(4 …"

'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 "Florida":

"… same sources, going through different vehicles.” …"

"… AG. The phenomenon stems in part from a new campaign finance law that the Florida Legislature passed last year. The change made it easier for independent po …"

"… n Gov. Scott Walker’s 2012 recall election campaign, for example. Yet in Florida, such coordination is not only legal, but the norm. “The idea that ther …"

"… ion,” said Dan Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida. Without firewalls, though, limits on how much money candidates can raise …"

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 "National Rifle Association":

"… on campus, sometimes with the backing of larger gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association. For Sommer, 23, a computerized machining student who founded Idaho State …"

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 "Wisconsin":

"… a’s petition. Senators including Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska, Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, Ted Cruz, R-Texas and Marco Rubio, R-Florida, wrote a letter wa …"

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 "law":

"… from labor unions, corporations and wealthy individuals. Like the federal law, Michigan bans corporations and unions from giving directly to candidates. …"

"… iving directly to candidates. However, the state’s flexible coordination laws allow Schauer to take advantage of the DGA’s deep-pocketed corporate an …"

"… ably have been illegal if Schauer were a federal candidate because federal law prohibits corporations and labor unions from running ads coordinated with …"

"… court ruled against the DGA’s request to block the 2013 campaign finance law in June, and the DGA dropped the rest of its lawsuit. Similarly in Minnes …"

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 "Texas":

"… inois, Bruce Rauner, along with contributions to Republican groups in Texas, Maine, Pennsylvania and Kansas. So far this cycle, the DGA has put up ad …"

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 "ExxonMobil":

"… like the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and large corporations like ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical and Pfizer. A Center for Public Integrity investigation las …"

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 "United States":

"… National Association of Tobacco Outlets and the Bodega Association of the United States. Of that sum, about $200,000 was used by the trade groups on lobbying act …"

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 "Indiana":

"… or instance, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels discussed “how to fix the states.” Lobbying firm ex …"

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 "Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association":

"… ken almost word-for-word from a list of suggested questions written by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and passed around to members of the committee. SIFMA — which represents …"

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 "Massachusetts":

"… allenging some of them already,” he said. Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the District of Columbia a …"

"… nor can financially support. Hours after the McCutcheon ruling came down, Massachusetts’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance announced it would “no long …"

"… individual may contribute to all candidates.” Spokesman Jason Tait said Massachusetts officials were also reviewing the current $5,000 aggregate limit that indi …"

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 "Massachusetts":

"… id best in New Jersey, Maryland and Illinois. White kids scored highest in Massachusetts and New Jersey. And Latinos fared best, among states with significant Hisp …"

"… nic populations, in Virginia, Maryland and Florida. Black kids did best in Massachusetts and Maryland, among states that have a sizable African-American demographi …"

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 "Massachusetts":

"… ccording to FEC records. Paul Lemieux, the president of a beauty salon in Massachusetts, said he gave $500 to Ready for Hillary in September as a sign of “encou …"

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 "David Tepper":

"… ngton Post story that named billionaire New Jersey hedge fund manager David Tepper, a major Mitt Romney supporter, among StudentsFirst’s funders. The artic …"

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 "Sheldon Adelson":

"… ndustrialist David Koch. Koch, hedge fund chief Paul Singer, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, and Leslie Wexner, CEO of the Limited Brands, each donated more than $1 m …"

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 "Massachusetts":

"… AC in the last 10 days of the special election for the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts,” Collegio wrote in an email. American Crossroads has backed many more …"

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 "Elizabeth Warren":

"… c populism” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. The piece led Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to fire off a letter to the largest banks in the count …"

‘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 "Wisconsin":

"… f dollars promoting Democrats and attempting to defeat Republicans such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — was created in 2004 by a group of liberal political …"

"… ed nearly $1 million into groups supporting recall efforts against Walker, Wisconsin’s governor, and other Republican lawmakers. More recently, the group tu …"

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 "New Hampshire":

"… the full picture of judges’ finances. In the Concord Monitor, New Hampshire (48 points) state courts spokeswoman Carole Alfano made a simila …"

"… e Alfano made a similar point about the alarming failure rate. "New Hampshire has strong disclosure, and no one currently is asking for the judicial for …"

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 "Massachusetts":

"… ecide? The answer varies from judge to judge, and court to court. In Massachusetts, judges evaluate both the dollar value of the financial interest and wheth …"

"… determine whether an investment requires stepping aside from a case, said Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court spokeswoman Jennifer Donahue. The federal recusal …"

'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 "North Carolina":

"… njoyed several victories, however. They gained almost complete control of North Carolina’s state government — where spending by outside groups backed by busine …"

"… st source of outside spending in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Washington, and North Carolina. It was also likely the biggest spender in Montana, but the state’s lax …"

"… at. Besides Walker’s victory, the RGA was also able to claim victory in North Carolina. GOP control In the Tar Heel State, Republican Pat McCrory easily defeat …"

"… ate and union funds for outside spending groups went away. McCrory became North Carolina’s first Republican governor elected since 1988 and was the only member o …"

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 "North Carolina":

"… nsidered the proposition only to study it and abandon the idea. North Carolina is currently in the process of transferring at least some of its economic …"

'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 "Wisconsin":

"… ral nonprofit group with significant union funding, made the 2011 and 2012 Wisconsin recall elections a top priority, providing a major cash infusion to a hand …"

"… e Center for Public Integrity. Of the total, $725,400 went to the Greater Wisconsin Committee and $150,000 went to We Are Wisconsin, a nonprofit launched shor …"

"… 25,400 went to the Greater Wisconsin Committee and $150,000 went to We Are Wisconsin, a nonprofit launched shortly after Walker announced his controversial leg …"

"… e bargaining. America Votes also gave nearly $45,000 to Citizen Action of Wisconsin and $20,000 to Wisconsin Progress. America Votes is a “social welfare …"

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 "North Carolina":

"… cify what they should be.) Lawmakers introduced similar bills in Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania that have not passed. Most of the laws closely match NCO …"

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 "New Hampshire":

"… atic female governor up for re-election next year is Gov. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. On the Republican side, three women are eligible to run for another term …"

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 "Oregon":

"… ake it out of committee.  Seven states – Iowa, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah – have attempted to lower limits and faile …"

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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