Peter Overby en Gingrich 2012 Campaign Still Owes $4.7 Million <a href="">Newt 2012</a>, the presidential campaign vehicle for Newt Gingrich last time around, couldn't bag the Republican nomination for him.<p>And now, the former House speaker's committee still owes $4.7 million from the attempt.<p>The campaign tells the Federal Election Commission that its debt on April 1, 2014, was just $14,507 less than the amount owed on May 31, 2012 — the month Gingrich officially suspended his White House bid.<p>The most prominent Gingrich benefactor, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, is gone without a trace. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:26:00 +0000 Peter Overby 23068 at Gingrich 2012 Campaign Still Owes $4.7 Million Pursuing IRS Controversy, House GOP Pivots Toward Crossroads Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee have voted to seek the criminal prosecution of former IRS official Lois Lerner. They allege that she violated several laws as the tax agency grappled with conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. The vote also marked a sharp turn in Republican strategy in the year-long controversy.<p>NPR's Peter Overby reports.<p>PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: This is the first of two House committee meetings this week on the IRS controversy. Wed, 09 Apr 2014 20:08:00 +0000 Peter Overby 22660 at Activists Push Public Financing Of N.Y. Political Campaigns Transcript <p>SCOTT SIMON, HOST: <p>The U.S. Supreme Court could deliver a new ruling as early as next week that could undo existing limits on regulating political money. But on the other hand, a coalition of liberal groups has started pushing for the public finance of elections. They essentially want to give money to candidates so they don't have to chase big donors. And the current fight is going on in New York's state capitol, Albany. Sat, 29 Mar 2014 11:53:00 +0000 Peter Overby 21881 at Say Goodbye To The Taxpayer-Funded Political Convention Ever since the Watergate era, taxpayers have been able to check a box on their federal tax returns and designate a little bit of their tax payment to help finance the presidential campaigns and wean politicians away from big donors.<p>The public financing program has had its ups and downs. Wed, 26 Mar 2014 07:15:00 +0000 Peter Overby 21641 at Is Organizing For Action Too Close To The White House? Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>Next we're going to unravel another potential political scandal. It involves a tax-exempt advocacy group with ties to President Obama. Organizing for Action is saying it broke its own rules against hooking up big donors with White House officials. Critics are unimpressed. NPR's Peter Overby breaks it down for us.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)<p>PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, OFA. Hey.<p>PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: This was President Obama last month addressing the annual Organizing for Action Summit here in Washington. Wed, 19 Mar 2014 09:08:00 +0000 Peter Overby 21161 at What's Holding Up Ukraine Aid Bill In Congress? Anger Over IRS With members of the House and Senate scrapping over a Ukraine aid bill, Republicans say a magic bullet could break the logjam.<p>It has nothing to do with the former Soviet republic, its ability to withstand Russia's military intervention in Crimea, or this weekend's referendum in the Ukrainian territory.<p>It has everything to do with conservatives' fury at the IRS, which they say has waged a partisan, and unconstitutional, war against President Obama's opponents.<p>First, there was the grindingly slow, intrusive scrutiny the agency gave to Tea Party and other groups seeking tax-exempt status Thu, 13 Mar 2014 17:18:00 +0000 Peter Overby 20785 at What's Holding Up Ukraine Aid Bill In Congress? Anger Over IRS Outside Groups Lay Millions On Florida Special Election The campaign for a congressional seat in St. Petersburg, Fla., will have seen some $10 million in spending by candidates and outside groups. Where did all of this money go? Tue, 11 Mar 2014 20:00:00 +0000 Peter Overby 20642 at Outside Groups Lay Millions On Florida Special Election FBI's Abscam Videos Are As Unbelievable As 'American Hustle' The Oscar contender is loosely based on the Abscam sting, which nailed a senator and six House members on corruption charges. The FBI videotaped some Hollywood-worthy scenes. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 10:12:00 +0000 Peter Overby 19798 at Once Neglected, Secretaries Of State Step Into The Spotlight Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>Control of Congress won't be the only big question in this fall's elections. A quieter but critical battle is being waged over state-level races for secretary of state. In most states, that's the official in charge of running elections. Elections have become a political lightning rod. Many conservatives rail against voter fraud and lax rules, liberals say that's voter suppression. Tue, 18 Feb 2014 21:12:00 +0000 Peter Overby 19229 at 'Citizens United' Critics Fight Money With Money It's been four years since the Supreme Court's controversial <em>Citizens United</em> ruling, the case that set the stage for unlimited and often undisclosed contribution money in federal elections. This year, the superPACs and social welfare organizations that use that money for attack ads are already at it, even as Republicans and Democrats are still choosing their candidates for the fall campaigns.<p>Advocates of stronger campaign finance laws are 0-for-6 at the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts. And there's no consensus in Congress on what, if anything, should be done. Thu, 13 Feb 2014 08:02:00 +0000 Peter Overby 18875 at 'Citizens United' Critics Fight Money With Money Political Groups Aim Early Attacks At New Hampshire Senator Even with 10 months to go before the midterm congressional elections, some political and ideological groups are already on the air, attacking incumbents they hope to take down in November.<p>One race that's attracting early advertisers is in New Hampshire, where Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is seeking a second term, and two tax-exempt social welfare organizations are buying ads against her.<p>The ads echo the Republican National Committee's strategy of tying Democrats to the Affordable Care Act. Tue, 14 Jan 2014 08:34:00 +0000 Peter Overby 16883 at Political Groups Aim Early Attacks At New Hampshire Senator The Life Of A Lobbyist In A Do-Nothing Congress The 113th Congress has finished its first session, and lawmakers enacted fewer than 60 laws. No Congress since 1947 has done so little legislating.<p>That's bad news for many of Washington's lobbyists. Howard Marlowe, for one, hasn't been feeling the joy of his job.<p>"One of the driest periods in the 35 years that I've been lobbying," he says.<p>An old Washington hand, Marlowe has a small, boutique lobbying firm specializing in local infrastructure projects. Sat, 21 Dec 2013 14:04:00 +0000 Peter Overby 15500 at The Life Of A Lobbyist In A Do-Nothing Congress Court Upholds Public Broadcasting Political Ad Ban While lawyers dismantle many restrictions on political money, the rules affecting <em>Morning Edition</em> and <em>Downton Abbey</em> still stand tall. A federal court in San Francisco says public radio and TV stations cannot carry paid political ads.<p>The 8-3 decision Monday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling last April by a smaller panel of the court. NPR and PBS both joined the case as friends of the court.<p>The court upheld the decades-old bar against political ads on public broadcasting stations, even as other restrictions have vanished over the years. Mon, 02 Dec 2013 22:23:00 +0000 Peter Overby 14182 at Court Upholds Public Broadcasting Political Ad Ban FEC: Tea Party May Not Shield Donors Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. The Federal Election Commission has turned back a bid by conservatives to weaken the federal campaign-finance disclosure law. A Tea Party group had asked for a precedent-changing decision to keep its donor lists secret. It said Tea Party members are being targeted for harassment and intimidation. NPR's Peter Overby reports.<p>PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: The commission deadlocked yesterday: three votes to exempt the Tea Party Leadership Fund from disclosure. And three votes not to. Fri, 22 Nov 2013 09:33:00 +0000 Peter Overby 13547 at What A Bitcoin Political Debut Could Mean For Transparency Bitcoin, the virtual currency that exists as alphanumeric strings online, is on the verge of getting into politics.<p>The Federal Election Commission is expected to vote Thursday on a proposal to allow bitcoin contributions to political action committees — even as skeptics say that bitcoins could undermine the disclosure standards of federal law.<p>The FEC is acting as other federal agencies are also exploring the uses, and dangers, of digital currency. Thu, 21 Nov 2013 00:28:00 +0000 Peter Overby 13451 at What A Bitcoin Political Debut Could Mean For Transparency Obama Donor Behind Third-Party Va. Candidate? Maybe Not This week's hot rumor in Virginia: Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis was a spoiler, bankrolled by an Obama bundler from Texas, to undercut Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli.<p>On Election Day, Sarvis captured nearly 7 percent of the vote in a race Cuccinelli lost by less than 3 percentage points to Democrat Terry McAuliffe.<p>"Bought and paid for," as <a href="" target="_blank">Rush Limbaugh</a> said, and as circulated by <a href=" Fri, 08 Nov 2013 22:42:00 +0000 Peter Overby 12684 at Obama Donor Behind Third-Party Va. Candidate? Maybe Not Outside Money Plays Big Role In Va. Race For Governor Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Two of the big winners in Virginia's elections this week were not on the ballot. They actually aren't even Virginians. They are two men who spent more than $2 million each to help elect Democrat Terry McAuliffe as governor.<p>NPR's Peter Overby reports on the Election Day impact of San Francisco environmentalist Tom Steyer and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.<p>PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: Tom Steyer made his fortune as a hedge fund manager. Fri, 08 Nov 2013 09:47:00 +0000 Peter Overby 12604 at Secret Persuasion: How Big Campaign Donors Stay Anonymous <em>Part two of our "Secret Persuasion" story reported with the <a href="">Center for Responsive Politics</a>. Read the first part <a href="">here</a>.</em><p>As tax-exempt organizations become a vehicle of choice for big political donors, one powerful appeal is the anonymity. Wed, 06 Nov 2013 10:03:00 +0000 Peter Overby 12440 at Secret Persuasion: How Big Campaign Donors Stay Anonymous From Social Welfare Groups, A River Of Political Influence <em>Part one of the two-part "Secret Persuasion" investigation, reported with the Center for Responsive Politics.</em><p>Bruce Pregler walks down the slope from his cabin, eases into the Au Sable River and casts his line; fishing takes his thoughts away from his downstate law practice.<p>He stands in the flowing water, holding his fishing rod, and gazes at the river around him. "You can't look at it from the bridge or a lodge," he says of the Au Sable, one of Michigan's prime spots for trout fishing. "You need to float it, walk it, wade it, fish it, enjoy it. Tue, 05 Nov 2013 10:20:00 +0000 Peter Overby 12370 at From Social Welfare Groups, A River Of Political Influence Outside Political Money Floods Virginia Races Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>Virginia holds elections next month for state offices, including governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. But what was historically a pretty sedate affair is, this year, drawing millions of dollars from all over the country.<p>NPR's Peter Overby reports.<p>PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: Time was when the candidates for governor campaigned across Virginia together, in the same car, even. But those days are long gone. The old dominion is an ideological battleground. Thu, 24 Oct 2013 20:23:00 +0000 Peter Overby 11656 at Money For Dam Project In Shutdown Deal Riles Conservatives <p></p> Fri, 18 Oct 2013 21:39:00 +0000 Peter Overby 11260 at Money For Dam Project In Shutdown Deal Riles Conservatives Why A Medical Device Tax Became Part Of The Fiscal Fight Among the bargaining chips in the budget crisis on Capitol Hill, there's the small but persistent issue of taxing medical device manufacturers.<p>The 2.3 percent sales tax covers everything from MRI machines to replacement hips and maybe even surgical gloves. The tax was imposed to help pay for the Affordable Care Act. Tue, 15 Oct 2013 22:12:00 +0000 Peter Overby 11002 at IRS Hearings Highlight Ambiguity Of Nonprofits In Politics Transcript <p>SCOTT SIMON, HOST: <p>This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. In the two weeks since the Internal Revenue Service scandal erupted, the acting commissioner has been ousted, the head of the relevant section has been put on administrative leave. Sat, 25 May 2013 09:55:00 +0000 Peter Overby 3244 at IRS Official's Silence Riles House Committee Members Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>The IRS has admitted to targeting conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. And yesterday at a House hearing the IRS director of exempt organizations said, quote: "I have not done anything wrong." She then declined to testify. Thu, 23 May 2013 08:38:00 +0000 Peter Overby 3108 at Some Lawmakers Want Big-Budget Groups Included In IRS Debate <p></p><p></p> Thu, 16 May 2013 22:01:00 +0000 Peter Overby 2799 at After Targeting Conservative Groups, IRS Apologizes Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel. After more than a year of denials by the IRS, a director at the agency apologized today for its targeting of Tea Party and patriot groups. As NPR's Peter Overby reports, the apology has reignited a political controversy.<p>PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: Some Tea Party groups have long accused the IRS of going after them with unfair harshness. Fri, 10 May 2013 21:23:00 +0000 Peter Overby 2494 at Why Lobbying Is Now Increasingly In The Shadows While ideological gridlock continues to immobilize Capitol Hill, another of Washington's institutions is morphing behind the scenes.<p>The lobbying industry is becoming more secretive — reversing a trend that dates back to the 1990s. And campaign money now looms ever larger as a critical element in the persuasion business.<p>Ever since Congress strengthened the lobbying disclosure laws in 1995, most lobbyists have routinely registered and filed their quarterly disclosures of clients, issues and fees. Fri, 03 May 2013 07:24:00 +0000 Peter Overby 2103 at Why Lobbying Is Now Increasingly In The Shadows FEC: DOMA Limits Political Donations By Gay Married Couples Maybe it's not your first thought after saying "I do," but federal election law gives married couples some advantages in making political contributions. The Federal Election Commission tried Thursday to make those same breaks available to couples in same-sex marriages — but commissioners said they're thwarted by the federal Defense of Marriage Act.<p>True, President Obama's Justice Department no longer defends DOMA, and the Supreme Court is weighing whether to get rid of it. But the FEC didn't want to get too far out in front. Fri, 26 Apr 2013 15:15:00 +0000 Peter Overby 1742 at FEC: DOMA Limits Political Donations By Gay Married Couples Bill Would Expand Disclosure Of Political Money The partisan rift over disclosing political donors has widened since last year's election. But now, along come Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., with a bill that would radically expand the disclosure of political money trails.<p>Their bill is aimed at outing the wealthy donors, corporations and unions that financed some $300 million in secretly funded campaign ads last year. Tue, 23 Apr 2013 23:47:00 +0000 Peter Overby 1610 at Bill Would Expand Disclosure Of Political Money IRS To 'Social Welfare' Groups: Show Me The Political Ad Money There are still unanswered questions about the politically active 501(c)(4) "social welfare" groups. The anonymously funded entities' multimillion-dollar ad budgets helped to clog the airwaves last year.<p>How much did they really spend to intervene in the 2012 campaign? What kinds of sources supplied their money? Sat, 30 Mar 2013 16:51:00 +0000 Peter Overby 510 at IRS To 'Social Welfare' Groups: Show Me The Political Ad Money