Watchdog 4/2/12

Clear Impact

We’re seeing more impact from our massive State Integrity Investigation every day. When you put compelling information into people’s hands in an easy-to-access format, big things happen.

State legislators in Delaware, Michigan, Ohio and South Carolina are proposing new ethics reforms based on our new survey of state transparency and accountability. We hope that many more will follow. More than 1,000 other media organizations and dozens of editorials have cited our work.

The phone has also been ringing off the hook here at the Center from citizens who knew something was wrong in their state capitals but now have some definitive data on why. Not all feedback is positive: An RV camp operator in Virginia chastised us for “ruining tourism” by giving that state a failing grade.

Of course, that’s the nature of our work. I remain gratified by the attention the State Integrity Investigation has earned and the awareness and dialog generated by it.

Until Next Week,

 

Bill Buzeberg
Executive Director

Half of Pro-Romney PAC money from Wall Street
Of the $43.2 million raised by the pro-Romney PAC Restore Our Future, $20.5 million, or 48 percent, came from finance industry donors, according to a Center analysis of Federal Election Commission data. At least $13.5 million came from private equity firms ($7 million) and hedge funds ($6.5 million) while most of the rest came from investment banks and other asset managers. So-called “non-bank lenders” that run storefront cash-for-title and payday lending operations gave the super PAC $437,500. Restore Our Future is by far the best-funded of the super PACs backing presidential candidates in the 2012 election.

Delaware lawmakers address state ethics
Delaware lawmakers have launched a new legislative effort designed in part to improve the C- grade the state received on lobbying disclosure from the State Integrity Investigation. The First State’s grade ranked it 22nd among the 50 states in that category.

Casino billionaire expected to back GOP groups
Multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson and his family, who have kept the flagging presidential candidacy of Newt Gingrich alive, seem poised to send millions to Republican-allied groups and possibly a super PAC backing frontrunner Mitt Romney, according to fundraisers with ties to the casino owner.

Center wins accolades
Center for Public Integrity has won a James Aronson Award for Social Justice in Journalism for its investigation of weak inspection systems that endanger workers and surrounding communities. As well, two stories are Investigative Reporters and Editors award finalists: Looting the Seas II and Poisoned Places.

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