Peter Overby http://kasu.org en Interpreting The IRS Emails, Washington-Style http://kasu.org/post/interpreting-irs-emails-washington-style Here's the biggest recurring theme in the IRS controversy — the one about alleged targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.<p>Throughout the yearlong investigation, congressional Republicans and Democrats have not only highlighted their own evidence but also taken the same evidence and drawn diametrically opposed conclusions.<p>The latest example came Wednesday afternoon, at a subcommittee hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Officially, the subject was a separate IRS issue. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:25:00 +0000 Peter Overby 46747 at http://kasu.org Interpreting The IRS Emails, Washington-Style IRS Chief Tangles With Lawmakers Over Missing Emails http://kasu.org/post/irs-chief-tangles-lawmakers-over-missing-emails Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. On Capitol Hill today, the House Ways & Means Committee drilled down on one question - what happened to Lois Lerner's e-mails? Lerner is the former official who was at the center of an IRS controversy last year. She oversaw agents who investigated advocacy groups and delayed the applications for tax except status. Conservatives say their groups were unfairly targeted. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 20:50:00 +0000 Peter Overby 45905 at http://kasu.org Lost IRS Emails Spark Republican Ire http://kasu.org/post/lost-irs-emails-spark-republican-ire With new technology came a new type of Washington scandal: missing emails.<p>In the latest instance, the vanished emails belonged to Lois Lerner, former head of the exempt organizations division at IRS. She's the official who oversaw the scrutiny of applicants for tax-exempt status as 501(c)(4) social welfare groups — a process that conservatives allege was meant to block Tea Party groups.<p>The controversy blew up just over a year ago. Tue, 17 Jun 2014 16:40:00 +0000 Peter Overby 45737 at http://kasu.org Lost IRS Emails Spark Republican Ire Tract Issued By Theologians Takes On Money In Politics http://kasu.org/post/tract-issued-theologians-takes-money-politics In a <a href="http://www.auburnseminary.org/mip">newly issued report</a>, a group of 11 theologians goes where the pols and lawyers dare not tread, with a faith-based analysis of money's role in politics. Fri, 13 Jun 2014 19:55:00 +0000 Peter Overby 45585 at http://kasu.org Tract Issued By Theologians Takes On Money In Politics The Big Numbers Behind Eric Cantor's Failed Primary Bid http://kasu.org/post/big-numbers-behind-eric-cantors-failed-primary-bid The big numbers are in from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning primary loss to Tea Party candidate David Brat.<p>First of all, the vote totals: <a href="http://electionresults.virginia.gov/resultsSW.aspx?type=CON&map=CTY">36,120 votes for Brat; 28,902 for Cantor</a>.<p>Cash raised: Between the start of 2013 and May 21, 2014, Cantor raised <a href="http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/464/14961230464/14961230464.pdf">$4.7 million</a>. Brat raised <a href="http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/186/14961232186/14961232186.pdf">a bit less than $207,000. Thu, 12 Jun 2014 22:18:00 +0000 Peter Overby 45540 at http://kasu.org The Big Numbers Behind Eric Cantor's Failed Primary Bid Lobbyists Loom Behind The Scenes Of School Nutrition Fight http://kasu.org/post/behind-scenes-school-nutrition-fight-big-food-money-flows The <a href="http://www.schoolnutrition.org/">School Nutrition Association</a> — what you might call the national organization for lunch ladies (and gents) — says it was trying to improve the healthfulness of school lunches.<p>But it says the U.S. Agriculture Department didn't help when things got tough, so it went to Congress. House Republicans provided help, but they also put the group in the middle of a partisan battle over what to feed America's school students.<p>Alabama Republican Rep. Wed, 11 Jun 2014 09:25:00 +0000 Peter Overby 45439 at http://kasu.org Lobbyists Loom Behind The Scenes Of School Nutrition Fight Outside Groups To Spend Even More Ahead Of Miss. GOP Senate Runoff http://kasu.org/post/outside-groups-spend-even-more-ahead-miss-gop-senate-runoff Well-heeled outside groups easily outspent Sen. Thad Cochran and challenger Chris McDaniel before the GOP Senate primary in Mississippi. They're going all in on the runoff election later this month. Fri, 06 Jun 2014 09:08:00 +0000 Peter Overby 45243 at http://kasu.org Billionaire Environmentalist Targets 7 Statewide Races http://kasu.org/post/billionaire-environmentalist-targets-7-statewide-races San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer has already pledged at least $50 million to his superPAC, NextGen Climate, and now the superPAC's leaders are laying out a hardball strategy for the fall campaign.<p>The goal: tag seven Republican candidates as "science deniers" who are on the wrong side of the increasingly urgent climate change issue.<p>Chris Lehane, Steyer's political adviser, says the superPAC will target four Senate candidates — Rep. Cory Gardner in Colorado; state Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa; Terry Lynn Land in Michigan; and former Massachusetts Sen. Thu, 22 May 2014 21:23:00 +0000 Peter Overby 44597 at http://kasu.org Billionaire Environmentalist Targets 7 Statewide Races Obamacare Buried By Avalanche Of Negative Ads, Study Finds http://kasu.org/post/study-obamacare-buried-avalanche-negative-ads It's been obvious ever since 2010 that Republicans and conservatives were spending a lot more slamming the Affordable Care Act than the Obama administration and Democrats were spending to defend it.<p>But 15 to 1?<p>Yes. That's the ratio calculated by <a href="http://www.kantarmedia.com">Kantar Media's</a> campaign media analysis group — CMAG to political junkies. Kantar estimates that national advertising against the ACA cost $418 million, compared with $27 million for ads supporting the law. Tue, 20 May 2014 21:57:00 +0000 Peter Overby 44492 at http://kasu.org Obamacare Buried By Avalanche Of Negative Ads, Study Finds Tea Party Stumbles As GOP Establishment Flexes Fundraising Strength http://kasu.org/post/tea-party-stumbles-gop-establishment-flexes-fundraising-strength Tea Party candidates did well in GOP primary elections in 2010 and 2012; this year, not so much. Part of this lack of success is because establishment candidates have generally out-raised them, and establishment-aligned outside groups are no longer reluctant to get involved in primaries. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Mon, 19 May 2014 21:07:00 +0000 Peter Overby 44434 at http://kasu.org Against 'Dark Money,' A Star Witness Speaks In Congress http://kasu.org/post/against-dark-money-star-witness-speaks-congress Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel. Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens testified in a Senate hearing today on the surge of secret money in politics. Stevens retired from the court a few months after the Citizens United ruling in 2010. Wed, 30 Apr 2014 20:00:00 +0000 Peter Overby 43616 at http://kasu.org Pay-To-Play Laws Celebrate 20th Anniversary http://kasu.org/post/pay-play-laws-celebrate-20th-anniversary While the Supreme Court this month took another step in freeing up big political donors, another set of federal restrictions on political money is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The so-called pay-to-play rules — enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission — are a narrow but powerful way to control political cash.<p>Think "pay to play" and you might think of video games or high school sports. Fri, 25 Apr 2014 21:09:00 +0000 Peter Overby 43426 at http://kasu.org Pay-To-Play Laws Celebrate 20th Anniversary Gingrich 2012 Campaign Still Owes $4.7 Million http://kasu.org/post/gingrich-2012-campaign-still-owes-47-million <a href="https://newt.org/newt-2012">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 42934 at http://kasu.org Gingrich 2012 Campaign Still Owes $4.7 Million Pursuing IRS Controversy, House GOP Pivots Toward Crossroads http://kasu.org/post/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 42682 at http://kasu.org Activists Push Public Financing Of N.Y. Political Campaigns http://kasu.org/post/activists-push-public-financing-ny-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 11:59:00 +0000 Peter Overby 42185 at http://kasu.org Say Goodbye To The Taxpayer-Funded Political Convention http://kasu.org/post/say-goodbye-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 42036 at http://kasu.org Is Organizing For Action Too Close To The White House? http://kasu.org/post/organizing-action-too-close-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 41720 at http://kasu.org What's Holding Up Ukraine Aid Bill In Congress? Anger Over IRS http://kasu.org/post/whats-holding-ukraine-aid-bill-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 17:30:00 +0000 Peter Overby 41495 at http://kasu.org What's Holding Up Ukraine Aid Bill In Congress? Anger Over IRS Outside Groups Lay Millions On Florida Special Election http://kasu.org/post/outside-groups-lay-millions-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 41401 at http://kasu.org Outside Groups Lay Millions On Florida Special Election Once Neglected, Secretaries Of State Step Into The Spotlight http://kasu.org/post/once-neglected-secretaries-state-step-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 22:49:00 +0000 Peter Overby 40569 at http://kasu.org 'Citizens United' Critics Fight Money With Money http://kasu.org/post/citizens-united-critics-fight-money-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 40358 at http://kasu.org 'Citizens United' Critics Fight Money With Money Political Groups Aim Early Attacks At New Hampshire Senator http://kasu.org/post/political-groups-aim-early-attacks-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 39167 at http://kasu.org Political Groups Aim Early Attacks At New Hampshire Senator The Life Of A Lobbyist In A Do-Nothing Congress http://kasu.org/post/how-lobby-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 38341 at http://kasu.org The Life Of A Lobbyist In A Do-Nothing Congress Ethics Panel Hands Down Holiday Gift Rules — In Rhyme http://kasu.org/post/ethics-panel-hands-down-holiday-gift-rules-rhyme Time was when business-suited Santas would spend December roaming the corridors of Congress, bestowing all sorts of goodies upon their elected friends, prospective friends and staffers: baskets of food, bottles of booze, even high-priced tickets to sports events.<p>That last item is the kind of thing that sent uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff to prison. Mon, 09 Dec 2013 23:45:00 +0000 Peter Overby 37821 at http://kasu.org Ethics Panel Hands Down Holiday Gift Rules — In Rhyme Court Upholds Public Broadcasting Political Ad Ban http://kasu.org/post/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 22:38:00 +0000 Peter Overby 37527 at http://kasu.org Court Upholds Public Broadcasting Political Ad Ban