National donors pick winners in state elections

If money is influence, the Republican Governors Association wielded more of it than anyone else last year in state elections nationwide. The group, led in 2014 by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, gave roughly $69 million to candidates, political parties and independent groups — more than double its Democratic counterpart — as it tried to…

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Charities risked tax-exempt status with political ads

The Internal Revenue Service prohibits charities from getting mixed up in politics, and those that do risk losing their tax exemption. Despite the threat, a handful of groups in the 2014 midterm elections paid for ads that appeared to be campaign-related. The Natural Resources Defense Council, for example, is known as a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning…

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Ad war winners take governors’ mansions

Nearly all of the governors elected Tuesday dominated the airwaves in TV ads before voters went to the polls, bolstered by their campaign war chests and outside groups that advertised on their behalf. Candidates outspent on TV ads won in only seven of the 32 races called as of early Wednesday. However, in six of…

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DC’s Council holds unique power

An investigation by WAMU and the Investigative Reporting Workshop identified more than $5 million in political contributions from more than 300 businesses that have contracts with the District. Nearly $1 out of every $5 that current Council members’ campaigns have received came from a firm seeking a city contract. Unlike the District, the federal government…

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Land of sun and political ads

The race to occupy the Florida governor’s mansion is among the most expensive state-level contests in the country this year, with roughly $31.8 million spent through September 8 on 64,000 television ads. But the campaign committees of incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic challenger and former Gov. Charlie Crist are responsible for less than 4 percent…

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How cozy can candidates be with political groups?

The criminal investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s collaboration with independent political groups has been making national headlines, but in certain other states, such a relationship would barely raise an eyebrow. Prosecutors in multiple counties have been investigating whether Walker, a potential GOP presidential candidate, illegally coordinated with a slew of independent conservative nonprofits leading up…

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Donors, friends of governors often get state court nod

Judicial elections are frequently criticized for allowing high-rolling campaign donors to influence the judges deciding major cases — but the judicial appointment process is no panacea either. According to a Center for Public Integrity investigation, appointments to the states’ top courts are often based on who you know at least as much as on what…

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Education groups battle teachers unions in state races

Education groups battle teachers unions in state races

The Center for Public Integrity StudentsFirst — created by former Washington, D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee — is leading a new wave of “education reform” organizations, funded largely by wealthy donors, that are challenging teachers’ unions and supporting mostly conservative candidates up and down the ticket in dozens of states. These groups promote charter schools,…

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Issue ad or political ad? You be the judge

Issue ad or political ad? You be the judge

The Center for Public Integrity Less than a month before a school board race in Douglas County, Colo., the Koch-funded nonprofit Americans for Prosperity said it spent $350,000 on ads backing a conservative slate of candidates. Yet no public records exist of the spending. Read the story here.

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Do senators fear the Internet?

Do senators fear the Internet?

The Center for Public Integrity Despite millions in potential cost savings to taxpayers, the U.S. Senate has still yet to pass a requirement that it file campaign finance reports electronically. By Friday, presidential candidates, House candidates, political action committees and super PACs must file their fourth-quarter financial reports with the Federal Election Commission electronically. Senate…

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