The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates betrayals of public trust. Sign up to receive our stories. Having bought himself into contention for the Democratic presidential nomination, billionaire Michael Bloomberg will tonight stand atop a debate stage in Las Vegas, a city where big money rules. Despite President Donald Trump’s tweetsertion that […]
Study: Most Americans want to kill ‘Citizens United’ with constitutional amendment
Three-fourths of survey respondents — including 66 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats — back a constitutional amendment outlawing Citizens United. The study also indicates that most Americans — 88 percent overall — want to reduce the influence large campaign donors wield over lawmakers at a time when a single congressional election may […]
She wants to overturn ‘Citizens United,’ the decision that gave rise to super PACs. She’s also supported by one
June 4: This story has been updated. It’s a historic year for Native Americans in politics — and not just for the candidates. A one-of-its-kind bipartisan super PAC, bankrolled by tribes and a prominent abortion rights group, is attempting to boost Native American candidates at a time when a record-breaking number of indigenous hopefuls are […]
Prepare to be shocked! Trump’s one weird trick to avoid a campaign investigation.
The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates betrayals of public trust. Sign up to receive our stories. This is a tale of how President Donald Trump is avoiding judgment by the government agency that’s supposed to “protect the integrity of the federal campaign finance process.” It begins in June, when the Center […]
Debating Democrats tackle — and dodge — how money influences politics
The most telling tales of money in politics are sometimes the tales never told. During the first Democratic presidential debates this week — in an election that will easily be the nation’s most expensive ever — several notable candidates never addressed “dark money” in elections, campaign propaganda sponsored by Russians or the political influence of […]
9 things to know about Eric Swalwell
Editor’s note: U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell ended his presidential bid on July 8, 2019. U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., is running for president. Rumors about his intention to run have been swirling since November when he visited Iowa to meet the Asian & Latino Coalition in Des Moines and Iowa Democratic Party chairs in Dubuque. […]
A modern history of campaign finance: from Watergate to ‘Citizens United’
A legal war has been waged since the campaign finance reforms that followed the Watergate scandals, when Congress passed the bedrock for our modern money-in-politics regulatory regime. And while reformers have notched significant victories, deep-pocketed deregulators have slowly chipped away at major provisions by challenging them all the way to the Supreme Court. Here’s a […]
Steve Bullock hates ‘dark money.’ But a lobbyist for ‘dark money’ donors is helping his campaign.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is staking his name and presidential campaign on battling “dark money” — a commonly used term for secretive political cash meant to influence elections. He’s even suing President Donald Trump’s administration over it. But next month, Bullock is scheduled to visit Washington, D.C., for a closed-door campaign fundraiser co-hosted by 11 […]
9 things to know about Bill de Blasio
Update, Sept. 20, 2019: Bill de Blasio has officially dropped out of the 2020 presidential race. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that he is running for president. “Don’t back down in the face of a bully. Confront him, take him on,” de Blasio said in a campaign kickoff video. “As president, I […]
9 things to know about Steve Bullock
Update, Dec. 2, 2019: Steve Bullock has suspended his campaign for president. In a presidential field of self-described progressive candidates, a centrist Democrat is emerging — one with a keen focus on how money affects politics. “We need to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 and defeat the corrupt system that lets campaign money drown out […]
Democrats say ‘Citizens United’ should die. Here’s why that won’t happen.
Catastrophe seemed imminent. “In a certain real way, the republic is at stake,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “We’re really stress-testing our democracy in a way we never have before,” said attorney Lawrence M. Noble. The menace under the microscope? “Dark money” in politics. But the doomsday scenarios played out one by one in a […]
9 things to know about Andrew Yang
Update, Feb. 11, 2020: Andrew Yang has dropped out of the presidential race. Lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Andrew Yang has never occupied elected office. That’s not stopping him from running for the White House as a Democrat. The Schenectady, N.Y., native and son of Taiwanese immigrants is running on a platform of “human-centered capitalism,” which he says would […]
FEC lays bare internal conflicts and challenges in letters to Congress
The Federal Election Commission’s four leaders are offering lawmakers clashing perspectives on the agency’s very purpose. The FEC’s greatest challenge to fulfilling its mission is a misperception that “adherence to the rule of law and sensitivity to Americans’ First Amendment rights reflect hostility towards enforcing the law or, even, toward the Commission itself,” Republican commissioners […]
9 things to know about Elizabeth Warren
Update, March 5, 2020: Elizabeth Warren has ended her presidential campaign. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who leapt out in front of other heavyweight Democratic presidential hopefuls by forming an exploratory committee on Dec. 31, has blazed the campaign trail with immediate stops in Iowa and New Hampshire. Warren, her state’s senior U.S. senator and a […]
Inside Donald Trump’s army of super PACs and MAGA nonprofits
At the outset of Donald Trump’s bid for the White House, he blasted super PACs on Twitter as “scams” and “unfair” and disavowed such outside help. This story also appeared in PRI Then he changed his tune. By the end of his 2016 campaign, more than a hundred super PACs and similar groups had spent […]
Cities want noncitizens to vote on local matters. GOP sees a target
WASHINGTON – Abel Amene was born in Ethiopia and came to the U.S. when he was 13 years old. Amene, who is a green card holder, has lived in the D.C.-area for the past 23 years, where he helps seniors sign up for vaccine appointments and volunteers in political campaigns. In 2021, he wrote a […]
9 things to know about Michael Bennet
Update, Feb. 11, 2020: Michael Bennet has dropped out of the presidential race. The presidential field now has two Colorado Democrats vying for the nomination. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., today announced his presidential candidacy, joining his former boss — former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper — as a White House hopeful. Bennet, 54, served […]
Halloween’s over. The FEC? Still a zombie.
The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates betrayals of public trust. Sign up to receive our stories. These are dark times at the Federal Election Commission, which has now gone two months without enough commissioners to enforce federal campaign finance laws. That’s because U.S. senators and President Donald Trump have failed to […]
Tribes need tax revenue. States keep taking it.
OSAGE NATION — On a crisp November morning, Teresa Bates Rutherford gazed at the construction site of her future home — her mind on her tax struggle with the state of Oklahoma. The trust land she is building on has passed down through generations of her family on the Osage Reservation, located in northeastern Oklahoma. […]
Nate McMurray doesn’t like ‘giant super PACs.’ But will they be his unlikely salvation?
Democratic congressional candidate Nate McMurray is running to represent New York’s 27th District. VoteMcMurray.com This article is co-published by WBFO-FM 88.7 and WBEN-AM 930. Nate McMurray wanted nothing to do with the kind of big-money politics that typify competitive congressional races. “My campaign will be funded by gifts from ordinary people, not giant SuperPACs or […]
Homeland Security: Noncitizens’ barriers to health care thwart COVID-19 progress
The Department of Homeland Security published a post-Trump report recently recognizing that immigrants are up to three times more likely to work in “essential” jobs with high risk of COVID-19 exposure than U.S.-born Americans. Essential workers who are not U.S. citizens are “especially vulnerable” to the virus, the report warns, because they also face multiple […]
‘Dark money’ in politics is about to get lighter
This story is co-published with The Atlantic. Secret money in politics will soon be a lot less secret. That’s because the Supreme Court today let stand a lower court ruling forcing politically active nonprofit groups to disclose the identities of any donor giving more than $200 when those groups advertise for or against political candidates. […]
9 things to know about Amy Klobuchar
Update, March 2, 2020: Amy Klobuchar has ended her presidential campaign. The self-proclaimed “senator next door” is officially hoping to walk through another door: that of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar — who today announced she’s running for president — is a popular politician in her state of Minnesota, gaining support and […]
Will Trump’s next Supreme Court pick be another millionaire?
Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was instrumental to Supreme Court decisions involving same-sex marriage, abortion and campaign finance (the so-called Citizens United decision), announced that he will retire after a 30-year term on the bench. Following the announcement Wednesday, President Donald Trump issued a statement praising Kennedy and making clear that the search for a […]
Elizabeth Warren decries big money in politics. Her campaign treasurer embodies it.
FAIRFAX, Va. — With a sizable American flag as her backdrop and supporters toting signs reading “The Best President Money Can’t Buy,” Elizabeth Warren decried the role big bucks play in politics. This story also appeared in PRI “Corruption, the influence of money, touches every decision that gets made in Washington,” the Democratic presidential candidate […]
Public Integrity staff share expertise in using data to cover inequality
Journalists from the Center for Public Integrity will facilitate discussions and training sessions addressing how data journalism can confront inequality at the Investigative Reporters & Editors’ 2023 NICAR conference March 2-5 in Nashville. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit news organization’s own journalism confronting inequality, Public Integrity works to build investigative reporting capacity and […]
There are many rich minorities. So why are there no black Koch brothers?
This story was discussed on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon. Watch it here: July 23, 2018: This story has been corrected. Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is worth nearly $3 billion. Basketball legend-turned-businessman Michael Jordan’s net worth is a reported $1.65 billion. Businessman and philanthropist Robert Smith is worth more than both of them with an […]
9 things to know about Cory Booker
Update, Jan. 13, 2020: Sen. Cory Booker has ended his campaign for president. New Jersey residents know Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker as a man of action — action that supporters laud but some call full of “gimmicks” or “almost too good to be true.” He once went on a 10-day hunger strike, sleeping outside […]
Biden’s immigration ‘reset’ faces some GOP roadblocks
Shortly after taking office Jan. 20, President Joe Biden ordered a 100-day moratorium on most deportations. Six days later, a federal judge in Texas blocked the moratorium with a 14-day restraining order. Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sought the restraining order, arguing that Biden was endangering the state. Paxton’s challenge is a sign that more […]
Democrats plan ‘aggressive’ oversight of Federal Election Commission
For most of this decade, Congress has all but ignored the perpetually gridlocked Federal Election Commission, which exists to enforce and regulate the nation’s campaign finance laws. No longer, two Democratic congressional representatives tell the Center for Public Integrity. The bipartisan FEC is broken and needs fixing, they argue. “In the next Congress, we will be […]